The local governments that make up the Baltimore Regional Fair Housing Group received a 2013 Award of Excellence from the National Association for County Community and Economic Development (NACCED) last month for the multi-year collaboration to reduce obstacles to housing choice in the metropolitan area. The same group received its first award in 2012 from the Community Development Network of Maryland (then known as the Asset Building and Community Development Network).  That award specifically recognized the Group’s innovative 2012 Regional Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing (AI).

The Baltimore Regional Fair Housing Group includes the counties of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford and Howard, as well as the City of Baltimore.  The housing agencies of those local governments have been working together for more than 15 years, voluntarily coordinating to help fulfill their duty to affirmatively further fair housing under the federal Fair Housing Act.

The Opportunity Collaborative was a co-recipient of the NACCED award.  The Collaborative is a coalition of local governments, state agencies and nonprofit organizations funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and staffed and coordinated by the Baltimore Metropolitan Council (BMC).  The Collaborative houses and helps fund the regional staff coordinator for the Fair Housing Group.

Opportunity Collaborative members Erin Karpewicz, of Anne Arundel County, and Tiffany Smith, of Howard County, traveled to the National Association for County Community and Economic Development (NACCED) annual conference in Tucson, Arizona to accept the NACCED Planning/Policy/Program Management Award on behalf of the Baltimore Regional Fair Housing Group on October 21. The recognizes actions that achieve better efficiencies within public agencies. Some highlights of what the Baltimore Regional Fair Housing Group has achieved include:

  • Commissioning a comprehensive AI in 2012 that addresses both regional and local impediments to fair housing.
  • Hiring a housing policy coordinator in 2012 to help implement regional actions that address impediments to fair housing.
  • Creating a five-year AI implementation plan with fair housing stakeholder input.
  • Successfully advocating for several changes with the Maryland’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit guidelines to improve fair housing choices throughout the region.
  • Bringing together several local government housing, transportation, workforce development, and economic development officials in each jurisdiction to discuss the role of transportation in furthering fair housing and helping people access jobs.
  • Winning an 18-month, $125,000 Fair Housing Initiatives Program grant from HUD in 2013 to bolster and extend this coordinated regional fair housing work.

The Baltimore Regional Fair Housing Group is funded in part by the Opportunity Collaborative, a coalition of local governments, state agencies and nonprofit organizations working to create a housing, transportation and workforce development plan for the Baltimore region. The six year, $330,000 collaboration that made these accomplishments possible combined locally administered Community Development Block Grant funding, Opportunity Collaborative (HUD Sustainable Communities) and federal transportation funds for the region.

For more information contact Dan Pontious at dpontious@baltometro.org.

Write a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.