October 17, 2012
The Maryland Affordable Housing Coalition, the nonprofit advocacy organization that worked so successfully with DHCD to lobby on behalf of Governor O’Malley’s Rental Housing Initiative, was named Partner of the Year during the 2012 Commitment to Excellence awards ceremony.
Secretary Skinner announced the seven winners on Oct. 16 at the Governor’s Conference on Housing and Sustainable Communities. The other categories were for Rental Housing Excellence; Special Needs Housing; Homeownership; Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Practices – single family and multifamily; and Special Honoree.
The Partner of the Year award goes to individuals or organizations that have served as catalysts for change in the housing and economic development field, working in concert with DHCD. Earlier this year, the coalition launched an ambitious campaign to build support for the governor’s $15 million plan to expand affordable rental housing throughout the state, creating jobs and stimulating the economy. Those efforts proved so successful that the legislature added $2.5 million to the governor’s proposal, for a total effort of $17.5 million.
“For nearly a decade, state funding for rental housing has been level, so an increase of this amount at this time is truly unprecedented in Maryland and perhaps even in the country,” Secretary Skinner said.
Other Commitment to Excellence winners were:
RENTAL HOUSING EXCELLENCE – Monarch Mills Apartment
Located on Gateway Drive in Columbia, Md., and developed by The Shelter Group, Monarch Mills combines the best in affordable rental housing with the cutting edge of green design elements and construction practices. The principles of sustainability have been woven into every aspect of the community. Monarch Mills is also partnered with the Howard County Public School system to serve as a community-based learning center and the project is within minutes of major amenities.
SPECIAL NEEDS HOUSING – Main Street Housing, Inc.
In 2011, Main Street Housing, Inc. saw the acute need for affordable housing options for folks with psychiatric disabilities in the Annapolis area. In response, the organization developed an initiative to deliver the Main Street model of quality, safe, affordable, permanent independent housing options. Through the Annapolis Housing Initiative, Main Street Housing is able to provide quality, affordable housing for eight individuals and families, including a number who were formerly homeless.
HOMEOWNERSHIP – The Cornerstone Hill Housing Development
Set in Cumberland and developed by the Cumberland Housing Alliance, Cornerstone Hill was designed for first-time homebuyers, workforce housing and retired individuals. The Cumberland Housing Alliance, Inc., in cooperation with DHCD, purchased this property out of foreclosure with funding through the Neighborhood Stabilization program and successfully rehabbed, built and sold 25 new modern townhomes; creating a new and recurring tax base for the community, plus income from city services and utilities.
ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES
Multifamily – The C. Williams Brooks Mid-Rise Apartments
Spearheaded by the Hagerstown Housing Authority and developed by Penrose Properties, the C. Williams Brooks Mid-Rise Apartments are a phenomenal example of the successful intersection of energy efficiency design, high-quality affordable senior housing and public/private partnership in spurring economic growth. The development was financed with several sources, notably through a Recovery Act Enterprise Green Communities competitive grant and through Maryland’s Multifamily Energy Efficiency and Housing Affordability program. In addition to excellence in green building, the Brooks project spurred economic growth for the local community by channeling more than 67 percent of all project dollars to subcontractors in the Hagerstown region.
Single Family – The Garrett County Community Action Committee
The Garrett County Community Action Committee Sustainable Energy Resources for Consumers program provided weatherization assistance to 60 low and very low- income homes in Garrett County; including the installation of wind, solar, or geothermal renewable systems; furnace repair or replacement when needed; updated electrical wiring in older homes and many other repairs to improve the energy efficiency of those homes.
SPECIAL HONOREE – Mosi Harrington
Mosi Harrington, the founder and former executive director of the Housing Initiative Partnership, retired recently after 24 years as an advocate and a leader in the field of affordable housing for low income families.
Under her leadership, the focus of the organization she helped create evolved to meet the ever-evolving housing issues of the people she served. The Housing Initiative Partnership was one of the first counseling organizations to recognize – and respond to – the foreclosure crisis.