U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Office of Community Planning and Development

Consolidated Plan Contact


As one of the original thirteen colonies, Maryland is home to dozens of historic communities. Geography and topography varies from rocky, mountainous terrain, in the West where families earn their living from farming, timber, and tourism, to thousands of acres of wetlands around the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Coast on the Eastern Shore, an area which supports both farming and some of the most abundant fisheries in the world. In between, the Baltimore-Washington-Wilmington corridor fills the State's central axis, a dynamic urban core that contrasts markedly with the State's rural areas.

Action Plan

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is Maryland's lead agency in developing and implementing the Consolidated Plan. Five over-arching needs arose during the Consolidated Planning Process. They are:

All of the State's housing, community development, and economic development efforts undertaken over the next five years will be keyed to addressing these five issues.

Citizen Participation

Citizen participation played an important role in the planning process. The Citizen Participation process included: work groups comprised of federal, State and local government representatives, for-profit and not-for-profit developers, advocacy groups, citizens and professional groups; a telephone survey of AFDC recipients to get direct input from low-income families and a mail survey of local governments, community action agencies, non-profit organizations and for-profit businesses. The State also conducted ten public hearings throughout the Consolidated Plan development process.



Maryland is known for having one of the best educated work forces in the country. The State has experienced a net gain in jobs over the past few years. However, higher gains in lower paying jobs (service and retail industries) offset losses in higher paying jobs (professional and manufacturing industries). Net job formation is taking place in every jurisdiction in the State with the exception of Baltimore City. Structural changes in the job market have put a lot of stress on older communities and the loss of manufacturing jobs has led to real wage decreases for men with little education.

Up through the early 1990s, population growth in Maryland had been expected to be above the national average for most of the next two decades. However, recent data show that Maryland's population growth is below the national average. Slower population growth will require less new construction and will encourage rehabilitation of existing housing stock as a viable, affordable, efficient alternative.


Housing Needs

The State of Maryland, local governments, and increasingly non-profit and for-profit organizations working to strengthen neighborhoods, are taking a "holistic" approach to community revitalization. They are focusing efforts on serving "neighborhoods" rather than individuals and working to link services with those of other organizations in the community. Recognizing neighborhoods as complex entities with distinct boundaries enables the State to build its programs upon a foundation of local assets including local government, businesses, non-profit agencies, Community Action Agencies, community and neighborhood organizations, and community leaders. Refocusing efforts toward ends that benefit neighborhoods, rather than ends that serve individuals, fosters coordinated service delivery and comprehensive, cost-effective housing and community development strategies.

Housing Market Conditions

According to the 1990 census, there are about 1.95 million year-round housing units in Maryland. About 58.1 percent of these units are owner-occupied units, and about 31.2 percent are renter occupied units. Of the remaining units, 2.3 percent were rental units available for rent, 1 percent were units for sale, and 7.3 percent were "other" which is comprised overwhelmingly of rental or owner-occupied units which are under rental or purchase contracts but where the household has not yet taken possession of the unit.

Based on a 1992 study done by Legg Mason Realty Group for the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, the median price of a home in Maryland in 1992 was $123,495. The median price for a new home was $164,536, and for an existing home was $116,959.

As would be expected, home prices were higher in urban areas. The most expensive housing is in the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), followed by the Baltimore MSA, the Wilmington, Delaware MSA (which includes parts of Maryland), and the Hagerstown MSA. The lowest house prices were in Maryland's rural counties.

About 82.5 percent of all owner-occupied units have three or more bedrooms. Approximately 2.2 percent of all owner-occupied units have no or one bedroom (the majority are efficiency and one bedroom condominium units), and the remaining 15.2 percent of owner-occupied units have two bedrooms (these are also primarily condominium units).

About 6.5 percent of all vacant units for sale have no or one bedroom, about 24.2 percent have two bedrooms, and the remaining 69.2 percent have three or more bedrooms. This illustrates the difficulties many owners of small units have in selling their properties. For example, despite efficiency or one bedroom units representing just over two percent of all owner-occupied units, they constitute about 6.5 percent of all units for sale, or about three times their presence in the housing stock.

Demand for renter-occupied housing remains high. Demand for affordable renter-occupied housing has increased over previous years. Market studies completed for recent projects receiving approval by DHCD's Division of Housing Finance (CDA) have demonstrated that there is a need for affordable housing for various populations (elderly, family households, etc.) throughout the State.

Rents for efficiencies, apartments, and other available units for rent vary widely across the State. General inflationary pressures have kept rents rising statewide, but the new Consumer Price Index (CPI) region combining Baltimore and Washington, DC metropolitan areas may have special impact on rent levels in most of the central part of the state. The CPI has long been used by landlords as the basis for raising rents. Merging the CPIs for Washington, DC and Baltimore areas has had the negative effect of raising the CPI in Baltimore metropolitan area, but the positive impact of lowering the CPI in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The State's rental housing inventory is very different from the owner-occupied inventory. Just under thirty-two percent (31.9) of all units have no or one bedroom, 39 percent have two bedrooms, and 29 percent have three or more bedrooms. Vacancies in renter-occupied housing mirror the market inventory more than owner occupied units. However, the numbers indicate that there is a shortage of larger rental units.

For example, one-bedroom units constitute 31.9 percent of all occupied units and 32.6 percent of all vacancies. Two-bedroom units constitute 39 percent of the occupied units and 46.3 percent of the vacant units. Three-bedroom units constitute 29 percent of the occupied units but only 21 percent of the vacant units.

Housing Needs

In 1990, there were almost 220,000 households with incomes of less than $12,000 per year and another 180,000 households with incomes between $12,000 and $20,000 per year. These are essentially the extremely low-income and low-income households, respectively, in Maryland. Together, they comprise 23 percent of all households in the State.

Housing units were considered to be not affordable if the households living in them had to pay more than 30 percent of their incomes on housing expenses. Units were considered to be unacceptable for a household, if they lacked some plumbing or kitchen facilities or if they were over crowded (more than 1 person per room).

Over 246,000 extremely low-income and low-income households -- 60 percent of these households -- in Maryland are paying more than 30 percent of their incomes in housing costs and/or live in substandard or overcrowded housing units. Over 60 percent of all extremely low-income home owners and well over 70 percent of all extremely low-income renters are paying more than 30 percent of their income on housing.

Homeless Needs

There are approximately 27,561 homeless persons in Maryland. This number was obtained by using an unduplicated count of homeless children made by the Maryland State Department of Education, formulas prepared by the Urban Institute and information from a study conducted by Johns Hopkins University.

Persons threatened with homelessness are generally described as persons or households who have incomes of 30 percent of median or less and who pay more than 50 percent of their income for rent. Over 56,000 households in Maryland fall into this category.

Persons With Special Needs

The special needs population consists of persons who require supportive housing services. It consists of the elderly, the frail elderly, persons with severe mental illness, persons who are developmentally disabled, persons who are physically disabled persons with alcohol and other drug addictions, and persons with AIDS and related diseases.

Because of their vulnerability to losing their housing and their difficulty in finding appropriate housing, persons with special needs are among the highest priority households for housing assistance the State will undertake.

Barriers to Affordable Housing

Barriers to affordable housing include bureaucratic procedures, codes and standards discrepancies, some land use controls, financial barriers, lack of coordination of resources, and scattered growth which drives up infrastructure and housing costs. In addition, some families face barriers to fair housing choice because of lack of access or lack of availability to affordable housing.

Fair Housing

One of the greatest barriers to affordable housing for many Maryland families is the lack of fair housing choice. This can take two primary forms: The unavailability of affordable housing outside of urban areas, or housing discrimination.

Lack of affordable housing in many non-urban jurisdictions makes it difficult for the poor, the working poor, and even the middle class to gain access to communities with jobs, good schools, and other opportunities. Strong efforts need to be made to deconcentrate poverty and offer equal opportunities to all Maryland residents by offering affordable housing in all areas of the State.

In addition, some families face racial discrimination which closes doors to affordable housing, either through blatant discrimination such as refusing to rent or sell affordable housing to minority households, or through less visible means of discrimination such as denying equal credit.

Lead Based Paint

Lead-based paint has long been recognized as a substantial health hazard both in Maryland and the nation for many years. Lead poisoning can severely affect the health of both children and adults. The ingestion of lead dust by young children is particularly damaging and can result in learning disabilities, hearing impairments, brain damage, convulsions, seizures, mental retardation, coma and death.

Maryland has a high concentration of housing with lead paint and a critical need for more resources to help deal with the removal of this hazardous substance. As established in Maryland's CHAS, it is estimated that 318,000 extremely low-, low-and moderate-income rental units have serious lead hazard potential. An addition 232,000 units occupied by extremely low-, low-, and moderate income home-owners also may have severe lead paint hazards.


The State of Maryland uses two primary methods to a coordinate activities between State departments and agencies, local governments, and for- and non-profit housing and service providers: Memoranda of Understanding and Technical Assistance.

Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) are utilized as a formal method to recognize and institutionalize mutually beneficial relationships to ensure efficient and maximum use of all available funds. Technical assistance is the primary mechanism to extend the effectiveness of programs. Technical assistance may include assistance with project planning and development, applications assistance, and training and capacity building.


Vision for Change

The main purpose of the Consolidated Plan is to develop policies and procedures and to target resources to carry out three main goals. These goals are to provide:

Maryland's Consolidated Plan places a strong emphasis on revitalization of the State's older neighborhoods and communities through targeted investment of housing, economic development, and community development funds. Local governments designate the communities targeted for revitalization through their planning and zoning ordinances, enterprise zone designations, or revitalization strategies.

Housing and Community Development Objectives

A wide range of objectives emerged from the planning process. They set much of the overall tone of the Consolidated Plan. These general objectives are:

Housing and Community Development Priorities

Maryland has chosen to focus on the stabilization of existing communities and the revitalization of older communities as its primary goal for all its community development, economic development, and housing activities. This focus is consistent with goals of many of the programs which can finance revitalization activities, especially the elimination of slums and blight. Maryland will not only use its own resources as well as federal resources to accomplish this goal, but will leverage private (business and nonprofit) and local public resources, too.

Housing Priorities

The State of Maryland has established the following priority groups for housing activities:

These priorities were developed based on recommendations from the working groups and on census data of housing need. Households will be assisted through expanded homeownership opportunities, provision of affordable rental housing through rehabilitation and new construction, and rent subsidies.

Non-Housing Community Development Priorities

The overall non-housing priorities of the State are:


Communities need to build and maintain basic infrastructure, but resource constraints on Maryland's smaller communities put pressure on local budgets.

Over Federal Fiscal Years 1987 to 1993, nearly one-third of community development CDBG funding has gone to water and sewer projects in low- and moderate-income areas In addition, infrastructure improvements was the area of need most identified during the public hearing process. Planning major infrastructure projects to revitalize or maintain downtown areas is a priority of the State, and the State will provide technical assistance to communities in order to plan appropriately for their needs.

Public facilities and essential human services

The percentage of community development funds used for essential services has climbed every year for the past five years. The above priorities were based on the information obtained from the working groups, hearings, and survey responses of AFDC recipients. In fact, AFDC recipients named Day-Care Centers as their number one need to help them get a job.

Economic Development

These priorities were developed from the AFDC survey, which ranked both of these activities very highly, and through input from the working groups and the agencies working on Maryland's welfare reform efforts.

Anti-Poverty Strategy

Maryland is one of the country's wealthiest states, with a median income that typically ranks in the top five in the United States. However, about nine percent of the State's population lives in poverty. This translates to about 385,000 people living in poverty in 1990. About 130,000 of these persons are children.

State programs and policies aimed at reducing poverty are driven by several trends in Maryland's poverty population. These include: a dramatic increase in the number of children living in poverty, high illiteracy rates, structural changes in the State's job market increasing demand for skilled workers and a decline in manufacturing jobs requiring less education, and high concentrations of poverty in the State's older, distressed neighborhoods.

Key components of the State's Anti-Poverty Strategy include:

Providing quality education and job training:

Reforming welfare to provide more effective assistance to families in poverty: Focusing economic growth and revitalization in areas where persons in poverty are most likely to reside: Creating jobs: Providing transportation services to assist low-income individuals in getting and keeping jobs:

Housing and Community Development Resources

Over the next five years, the State of Maryland expects to use a total of $1,289,759,000 in financing to fund housing activities that will assist about 91,500 households. This includes $250,000,000 in financing to rehabilitate or construct 9,000 units of rental housing, $646,800,000 to provide about 11,000 mortgages for first-time home buyers, $56,459,000 to rehabilitate about 3,100 single family homes (of which about $34,249,000 will be used to provide 1,100 group homes for persons with disabilities) and provide $336,500,000 in Section 8 and State rental subsidy funds to subsidize rents for about 68,700 households.

Coordination of Strategic Plan

Coordination of the State's housing, community development, and economic development activities will be achieved through Memoranda of Understanding, new and existing Cooperative Agreements, technical assistance, development of institutional capacity to deliver housing and services, training, and providing funds for administrative costs associated with building capacity.



The State of Maryland funds projects based on their ability to meet the housing, economic development, and community development goals outlined above. Projects are funded on a competitive basis, and highest priority is given to those projects which are part of a revitalization strategy.


The State of Maryland expects to receive the following federal entitlement resources during the coming year:

CDBG $11,271,000
HOME $ 5,992,000
ESG  $   509,000
The State of Maryland also will received about $28 million to operate various Section 8 programs, $2.5 million in lead paint abatement funds, and $250,000 in McKinney Act funds. It will receive about $10.3 million in other federal housing and housing-related supportive service funds from the Community Services Block Grant, Appalachian Housing Fund, and Department of Energy Weatherization programs among others.

In addition, the State will provide substantial resources of its own for housing, community development, and economic development activities, including about $48 million in State appropriations and about $250 million in bond financing for housing and infrastructure activities.


The State will develop the following Memoranda of Understanding:

Barrier Removal

The State barrier removal activities this year will focus on creating a more efficient, user-friendly environment by streamlining application processes, simplifying and creating uniformity in application materials, significantly shortening processing times, and bolstering technical assistance to local governments, non-profit organizations, Community Action Agencies, and new users of the Department's programs.

The Maryland Housing Policy Commission and the Maryland Commission on Neighborhoods will both review barriers to affordable housing. They will review a broad variety of issues that must be addressed in the development of housing to both meet the needs of the State's low-income households and serve as an essential component in the State's effort to rebuild older communities.

Other Actions

The State will take a series of other actions over the coming year to provide affordable housing, economic development, and community development activities to improve the lives of Maryland's low- and moderate-income citizens.

Lead Agencies

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development is charged with carrying out the State's low-income housing, home financing, building code, planning and community development, insurance, and historic preservation programs. It has overall responsibility for carrying out the Consolidated Plan.

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Three divisions within DHMH are responsible for taking care of Maryland's population with special needs. The Mental Hygiene Administration (MHA) is responsible for taking care of the needs of the State's mentally ill. The Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) was established in 1970 and is responsible for the needs of Maryland's mentally retarded and severely physically handicapped population. The AIDS Administration was established in 1987 and provides public education and surveillance, professional education, and patient support services for persons with AIDS.

The Department of Human Resources (DHR) serves families and individuals who, due to financial hardship, disability, age, chronic disease, or any other cause, need help in obtaining basic necessities of food and shelter.

The Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) is Maryland's lead agency for carrying out economic development activities and providing job training to help persons obtain better job skills and employment opportunities.

The Maryland Office On Aging administers, consolidates, and coordinates Statewide programs to meet the needs of older Marylanders. The Housing and Continuing Care Division develops, certifies, and helps operate subsidized sheltered housing for the elderly.

The Maryland Department of Education (MSDE) is responsible for ensuring educational opportunities for all of Maryland's residents. This includes providing educational opportunities and programs for Maryland's homeless, especially its homeless children.

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is responsible for identifying lead hazards in Maryland, as well as monitoring lead paint abatement activities.

Local Governments All of Maryland's counties, and many of its cities, towns, and townships, have offices responsible for coordinating housing activities. Responsibility for housing may reside with local departments of housing, housing agencies, Public Housing Authorities, city administrators, or other agencies or staff. There are more than 100 different local jurisdictions which have formally identified housing offices, agencies, or personnel.

Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) are some of the largest low-income housing providers in Maryland. Depending upon the organizational structure of the PHA, they can be arms of local governments or separate operating entities operating on a not-for-profit basis.

Community Action Agencies (CAAs) are community based organizations chartered by law which work to provide services and activities having a measurable and potentially major impact on the elimination of poverty in their community. The activities undertaken by CAAs to assist low-income persons include helping individuals secure and maintain meaningful employment, attain an adequate education, make better use of available income, obtain and maintain adequate housing and a suitable living environment, obtain emergency assistance through loans or grants to meet immediate and urgent individual and family needs, including the need for health services, nutritious food, housing, and employment-related assistance, remove obstacles and solve problems which block the achievement of self-sufficiency, achieve greater participation in the affairs of the community, and make more effective use of other programs related to these activities.

Non-profit organizations are active in providing affordable housing and services to extremely low-, low-, and moderate-income families. Non-profit organizations may be somewhat different in scope than Community Action Agencies in that they often focus on specific issues such as assistance for the disabled or elderly, rather than focusing on the community as a whole. Maryland has more than 140 active nonprofit organizations which provide housing to needy families.

The Coalition for a Lead-Safe Environment is a group of non-profit and health organizations which will work with DHCD and MDE in helping to solve lead paint problems in Maryland.

For-profit developers play a key role in providing affordable housing in Maryland. In addition to utilizing State funds, for-profit developers have been successful in obtaining federal resources to provide affordable housing, most notably Farmer's Home 515 loans, which provide affordable rental housing to very low- and low-income renters in rural areas, and federal low-income housing tax credits, which are used to provide affordable low-income housing throughout the entire State.

Financial institutions have been strong supporters of efforts to provide affordable housing to Maryland's citizens. Their contributions typically consist of construction lending, providing mortgages to projects receiving federal and State funds, and working extensively with the State's homeownership programs.

The Maryland Affordable Housing Trust (MAHT) was created by legislation during the 1992 session of the Maryland General Assembly and became operational on October 1, 1992. MAHT is a charitable public corporation designed to provide flexible and creative financing tools to develop housing intended for households with incomes less than 50 percent of median income, with preference given to projects which assist persons earning less than 30 percent of median income.

Housing Goals

During the next year, the State of Maryland intends to provide housing for about 19,200 extremely low, low- and moderate income families. The State expects to rehabilitate about 1,800 units of rental housing, provide about 2,900 mortgages to first-time home buyers, rehabilitate about 800 housing units (including 220 group home units) and provide about 13,700 families with rental subsidies with about 1,500 of those families being assisted through State funded programs and the remainder through the federal Section 8 programs. It estimates it will utilize a total of about $300,000,000 in financing to carry out these activities. Based on previous activities, about 70 percent of the households served will have incomes below 30% of median income.

To comment on Maryland's Consolidated Plan, please contact:
John M. Greiner
Department of Housing and Community Development
State of Maryland
PH: (410) 514-7191

Return to Maryland's Consolidated Plans.