Jack's Journal: Vol. 8, Issue 5Friday, February 3, 2017
Coalition aims to spread the word about tax credit for low-income renters
In a city where nearly half of all residents are renters, a little financial assistance goes a long way.
And that’s exactly what a coalition of housing advocates is banking on.
On Friday morning, City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young was joined by Mayor Catherine Pugh, Councilman Robert Stokes and the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition to spread the word about a rental assistance program that few Baltimoreans know about.
A new public awareness campaign that features advertisements on public buses, as well as radio and television spots featuring Council President Young aims to notify renters about a tax credit designed specifically for low-income renters.
“We live in a state where wages have remained flat, while the cost of living has increasingly risen, leaving more and more families scrambling to find a way to make ends meet,” Council President Young said.
“There’s a real danger with this equation, where more and more families face the real prospect of eviction and financial ruin. That’s why I am extremely excited to partner with the Maryland Consumer Rights coalition to let folks know about this special program,” Young added.
Many housing experts say that the tax credit for renters is needed now more than ever.
Many of Baltimore’s older adult renters live on a fixed-income and face difficulty paying for their rent and medications. About 34 percent of families who rent live below the poverty line – about 19,000 families. And nearly 60 percent of renters pay more than 30 percent of their incomes in housing, while 33 percent pay more than 50 percent for housing, according to the coalition.
In addition, housing costs have steadily risen, making it nearly impossible for two full-time workers earning minimum wage to afford a median rent of $774 for a two-bedroom apartment in Baltimore. Renters may qualify to receive as much as $1,000 per year or $83.33 per month.
Renters can get additional information about the program by calling the Maryland Tax Credit Hotline at (443) 961-6220 or by visiting www.MarylandTaxCredit.com
YouthWorks Needs Your Help
Please help YouthWorks reach its goal of offering summer employment to 8,000 Baltimore City youth.
Become a Hire One Youth Employer - Baltimore’s private-sector employers can hire great workers this summer through the Hire One Youth strategy. Interview responsible and motivated 16- to 21-year olds and select at least one to hire. Youth participants get a high quality work experience. You add a prepared employee. For more information, please sign up at baltimorecity.gov/hireoneyouth or contact Harriett Diles at 410-396-JOBS (5627) or Hdiles@oedworks.com.
Become a YouthWorks worksite - Government agencies, non-profit organizations and community groups that would like to serve as YouthWorks worksites can register online at youthworks.oedworks.com. Young people would be placed in summer jobs with your organization and you would provide supervision and mentoring.
Make a tax-deductible donation - Online donations can be made through the Baltimore City Foundation, Inc. at baltimorecityfoundation.org. Choose MOED - YouthWorks 855-00. Checks can also be made payable to Baltimore City Foundation/YouthWorks and mailed to MOED, 101 W. 24th Street, Baltimore, MD 21218.
Baltimore Police launch new mobile app
The Baltimore Police Department is stepping up its technology game by unveiling a new mobile application that will allow citizens to receive access to the latest news, live streams, photos and videos, alerts and crime information right in the palm of their hand.
Baltimore PD, a free app for Android and Apple devices, allows two-way communication using social media platforms, and offers users a special feature for submitting anonymous tips to the department.
You can find out more information about the new Baltimore PD app by visiting http://bit.ly/2l5CCjq
Learn About the Water Billing Portal
Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) Director Rudolph S. Chow, P.E., has announced that during the month of February, DPW staff will be attending approximately 50 community association meetings across Baltimore to discuss the new water billing system portal and how to access its features.
DPW’s new web portal allows citizens to view their water usage in daily, or hourly, increments. Knowing how to fully utilize the web portal enables customers to make better decisions when it comes to conserving water, and saving money.
Thousands of citizens have already registered to use the portal and are actively monitoring their usage to detect leaks, dripping faucets, or breaks in the service line or in interior piping that may need a plumber’s intervention. The Department wants to increase use of the portal by as many customers as possible.
“This is a great opportunity for Baltimoreans to learn about this excellent resource,” said Mayor Catherine E. Pugh. “The water billing portal can really make a difference for citizens in tracking their water usage. It is a great tool to manage consumption and to save money through conservation, and through early discovery of leaks and service line breaks.”
The list and dates of these meetings are at the bottom of this release. These meetings are only for members and residents of these particular communities. Additional meetings will be announced for other communities in the coming months.
Any customer in the City who receives a bill for water service may register to view their account at https://waterbillportal.baltimorecity.gov/ or by clicking through on the DPW website. A YouTube video is also available to guide customers through the process, at https://www.youtube.com/user/BaltimoreDPW. For first time access to the portal customers will need the access code sent to them in the mail. Those who need the code re-sent to them may request it by emailing DPW.Billing@baltimorecity.gov.
Housing Mobility Program Wait List Closing Soon
The Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership (BRHP) runs the Baltimore Housing Mobility Program, which provides Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8) for use in opportunity areas in the Baltimore region. The Program was created by the historic housing desegregation class-action lawsuit Thompson v. HUD. Before 2015, Metropolitan Baltimore Quadel (MBQ) ran the Program. Some may know the Program as “MBQ”.
BRHP will stop accepting applications as of 5:00 pm on Friday, March 31, 2017. Mailed applications must have a postmark of Friday, March 31, 2017, or before. The decision to close the wait list was difficult, but there are many more families applying than vouchers. The wait list will remain closed until further notice.
How do I know if I should apply?
You must be one of the following to be placed on the wait list:
• A family living in Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC) family public housing
• A family living in HABC family public housing between January 31, 1995, and present
• A family displaced from closed or torn down HABC family public housing
• A family on the HABC family public housing or Housing Choice Voucher wait list
• A family living in Baltimore City -- BRHP will check if you live in an eligible area
Where can I get an application?
• Pick up an application at our office located at 20 South Charles Street, Suite 801, Baltimore, Maryland 21201. Office hours are Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.
• Download and print an application at www.brhp.org.
• Call the Application Line at 667-207-2102 to have an application mailed to you.
Out & About in Baltimore
On Wednesday, February 1, 2017, Council President Young attended the grand opening of Berriesby Quicha, a small business that sales chocolate covered strawberries in Federal Hill.
Coming Up In Baltimore
Baltimore's Barefoot Boogie Fundraiser Dance
Friday, February 10, 2017
Movement Lab, 301 W. 29th Street
Come get your body movin' and groovin' to a variety of beats and rhythms, while supporting nonprofits. The event will benefit TuTTies Place. Tickets are $15-$35.
For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
YOU are the "COMMUNITY" in Baltimore's Community Schools
Tuesday, February 21, 2017, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Family League of Baltimore, 2305 N. Charles Street
As a Community School Steering Committee member, you can make a difference in the lives of the children and communities you care about in Baltimore City.
To learn more, please visit http://familyleague.org/csscinfo
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Chesapeake
Becoming a mentor is easy. Mentoring is about real relationships that help young people overcome obstacles and thrive. From education to extracurricular activities to community engagement, young people benefit from mentoring. Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Chesapeake Community One-to-One Mentoring Program connects young people with caring adult mentors. Matches are provided with professional supports, inclusive of a case manager, and monthly low to no cost activities. We ask that volunteers commit to mentoring a child for a minimum of one year and to plan two to three match activities per month. To apply contact Leticia Sharp at 410-243-4000 or visit www.biglittle.org/volunteer to complete an online application . Visit Big Brothers Big Sisters on Facebook: BBBSGreaterChesapeake, Twitter: @bbbsgc and instagram: bbbsgc.
Online Homebuyer Education Course
24 hours a day/7days a week
Looking to buy a home? Don't just take your best shot, make it a slam dunk! eHome America can help make your homebuying experience a winning experience! Learn what you need to know about the homebuying process, on your own schedule, from any computer. The cost is low, but the information is invaluable. Visit us at www.ehomeamerica.org/ for more information, or to register online. Information courtesy of Steven C. Kinney of the GO Northwest Housing Resource Center on 2300 Garrison Blvd., Suite 140. For more information e-mail email@example.com or call 410-947-0084.
GO Northwest HRC Free Foreclosure and Prevention Counseling
Every Wednesday from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM by appointment only
2300 Garrison Boulevard, Suite 140
This workshop is for individuals who are behind on their mortgage and/or facing foreclosure. Free workshop and free parking! Appointment is required. Call 410-947-0084 x104 for more information.
1056 West Baltimore Street
HomeFree USA uplifts Baltimore communities and empowers families. Resources include homebuying guidance, credit help, mortgage advice, and rebuilding communities. For more information call 410-878-1405 or visit www.homefreeusa.org.
Adult Education Classes in Baltimore City
Baltimore City Community College
Locations throughout Baltimore City
The Baltimore City Community College and the Housing Authority of Baltimore City will offer Basic Skills (Pre GED) Classes at the following locations: Eager Street Homes, 709 E. Eager Street; Gilmor Homes, 1515 Vincent Court; O'Donnell Heights, 1200 Gusryan Street; Pleasant View Homes, 201 N. Aisquith Street; Westport Homes, 2343 Norfolk Street; Brooklyn Homes, 4140 Tenth Street. You must be at least 17 years of age to enroll. For more information call 410-396-3212.