Mayor Scott Announces Enhancements to the Baltimore City Employee Homeownership Program
Wednesday Sep 6th, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Announcement Comes at Live Baltimore Event Promoting New Campaign to Encourage City Living
BALTIMORE, MD (Wednesday, September 6, 2023) - Today, Mayor Brandon M. Scott unveiled enhancements to the Baltimore City Employee Homeownership program, in an effort to highlight the city’s middle neighborhoods strategy and empower its dedicated city workforce. The announcement was made at Live Baltimore’s multimedia campaign launch event, which unveiled new materials encouraging residency in Baltimore. Mayor Scott himself was also highlighted as part of that campaign, after becoming a first-time homebuyer in Baltimore City just a few months ago.
Middle neighborhoods, often described as stable and diverse communities, form the backbone of Baltimore City. These areas are neither exceedingly affluent nor distressed, and they play a crucial role in maintaining urban stability and community well-being. Recognizing the importance of these neighborhoods, the administration has allocated $9.7 million specifically for programs that support middle neighborhoods, part of an over $100 million investment of ARPA funding dedicated to housing.
“Home ownership has always been something that changes the game for working families – serving as a threshold to help support families' futures and build generational wealth,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. "I want everyone to have the opportunity to own their own piece of our great city of Baltimore. Owning a home means building a community, building wealth, and building a legacy. We’ve made so many investments in ensuring that homeownership is still an achievable dream in Baltimore, and I wanted to ensure that Baltimore City’s own employees are supported in pursuing it. This enhancement is just one more way that we’re building a more equitable and thriving Baltimore."
"It's always a great time to buy a home in Baltimore City,” said Annie Milli, Executive Director of Live Baltimore. “But with this announcement, now is truly the moment for City employees to make their dreams a reality! You may have never thought homeownership was an option. You may have been sitting on the sidelines saying, someday. To you, I say: It is possible! Someday is now! And Live Baltimore is ready to help you, today."
As of this year the city has 156 middle neighborhoods, and the middle neighborhoods strategy is directed towards 26 neighborhoods in five carefully selected areas where vacancy rates are low, homeownership rates are above 50%, and over 80% of the residents are Black.
The investments into these neighborhoods include:
- Wealth Building Home Repair Grants for Legacy Residents ($4 million): Offering up to $30,000 for home repairs to legacy homeowners who have resided in their homes for 15 or more years, and up to $10,000 for any homeowner for exterior improvements.
- INSPIRE Development Incentives ($1.29 million): Targeted development incentives aimed at creating homeownership opportunities for families with school-aged children.
- Buy Back the Block Down Payment Assistance ($3.4 million): Facilitated by Live Baltimore, this initiative supports tenants purchasing homes in their own neighborhoods.
- Community Organizing Support ($1 million): Provided through Healthy Neighborhood Inc., this initiative assists neighborhood-based organizations in targeted areas to promote the availability of city resources to residents.
Aligning with this already established strategy, the Mayor announced that for the next year (through September 2024), the Baltimore City Employee Homeownership Program will be unlimited in number, offering a $5,000 incentive towards down payment and closing costs across the city. The program will offer a doubled Incentive for select neighborhoods. Homes purchased by city employees in 205 of our most affordable neighborhoods will receive an incentive of $10,000.
This one-time enhancement underscores Mayor Scott’s commitment to investing in our communities and strengthening Baltimore City’s workforce. By encouraging homeownership, the City is not only investing in the city's neighborhoods but also in the futures of employees and their families. As one of the city’s largest employers, Baltimore City Government has the ability and the responsibility to assist in generating wealth.
As part of the promotion strategy for the expanded employee incentives and the numerous other Live Baltimore and middle neighborhoods programs, the Scott Administration will embark on a fall tour to ensure all employees are aware of their eligibility for these incentives and all residents know what programs are available to support homeownership. As part of this effort, Mayor Scott, Housing Commissioner Alice Kennedy, and Live Baltimore representatives will visit City work sites and speak with employees about home buying.
The Baltimore City Employee Homeownership Program is not just about buying a home; it's about building communities, wealth, legacies, and the future of the great city of Baltimore.