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Maryland Receives 100 Additional Housing Vouchers from HUD to Help Reunite Families

$600,000 In New Funds

BALTIMORE, MD (July 10, 2009) - In Maryland, foster children are not able to reunite with their families sometimes because their families lack adequate housing.

To address the problem and increase the number of children who can reunite with their families, President Obama recently announced the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will award 2,500 rental assistance vouchers to 37 public housing authorities across the U.S. aimed at reuniting more than 7,500 foster children with their parents.

The initiative could help reunify 16,000 families nationally and up to 100 families right here in Maryland. The additional $20 million investment in housing vouchers could save more than $134 million in foster care costs across the country.

Residents whose children are in foster care and are struggling with finding adequate housing in Allegany, Caroline, Dorchester, Frederick, Garrett, Kent, Somerset, Wicomico, Worcester and parts of Talbot counties may be eligible to apply for a voucher.

"As our country faces its most serious economic crisis in a generation, everywhere you turn, families are struggling to find a way forward through the national recession," said Governor O’Malley. "These additional housing vouchers will help reunify more families and reduce the number of children in foster care."

These vouchers allow a family to rent housing from a private landlord and generally pay 30 percent of the family's monthly adjusted gross income towards rent and utilities. In addition, approximately 20 percent of the vouchers will help provide stable housing for about 1,500 young adults (ages 18-22) who have "aged-out" of the foster care system.

"These vouchers mean that families who have been separated, and children put in foster care, because of financial difficulties and inability to find affordable housing, can be reunited," said Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Raymond A. Skinner. "HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan is to be commended for this important initiative because it means more families in Maryland will be together and safe. For that, we are grateful."

"This initiative focuses on the fact that nothing matters more to a child than a place to call home. As often as possible, we want families to stay together and these vouchers can help," said Maryland Department of Human Resources Secretary Brenda Donald. "We are also happy that some of the vouchers can be used for foster youth aging out of foster care. Lack of housing is the biggest obstacle for youth who age out, many of whom become homeless."

According to statistics gathered by the National Center for Housing and Child Welfare (NCHCW), an affordable housing/child welfare advocacy group, keeping children in foster care is an expensive alternative to affordable housing. On average, it costs more than $48,000 annually per family when children enter foster care. By contrast, housing and services to keep a family together costs approximately $15,000 annually.

Applicants must be currently working with their local social services department to apply for the voucher. For more information about eligibility, please call 1-800-332-6347.

Vouchers will be distributed to the following states:

State

Vouchers

Funding Amount

ARIZONA
CALIFORNIA
FLORIDA
HAWAII
ILLINOIS
MASSACHUSETTS
MARYLAND
MAINE
MINNESOTA
NORTH CAROLINA
NORTH DAKOTA
NEBRASKA
NEVADA
NEW YORK
OHIO
PENNSYLVANIA
VIRGINIA
VERMONT
WASHINGTON
WISCONSIN

275
140
150
100
224
187
100
100
100
200
20
50
100
50
155
50
150
150
150
100

$1,808,757
$1,992,091
$1,518,840
$1,085,328
$1,893,552
$1,994,621
$597,048
$568,812
$779,256
$1,260,756
$86,088
$277,746
$765,480
$275,394
$645,500
$254,760
$1,420,746
$942,168
$1,194,318
$633,300

Total: 2,551 $19,994,561

For more information:

Erlene Wilson
Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development
410-514-7704
wilson@mdhousing.org

Nancy C. Lineman
Maryland Department of Human Resources
410-767-7758
nlineman@dhr.state.md.us

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