Testimony: FY2025 Capital Budget for Department of Housing and Community Development (MD, Support)

February 27, 2024

The Hon. Craig J. Zucker, Chair
Capital Budget Subcommittee, Budget and Taxation Committee
Miller Senate Office Building
Annapolis, Maryland 21401

RE: Support the FY2025 Capital Budget for Department of Housing and Community Development 

Dear Chair Zucker and members of the committee:

Please accept these comments on behalf of the Coalition for Smarter Growth, the leading non-profit organization in the D.C. region, including suburban Maryland, advocating for walkable, bikeable, inclusive, transit-oriented communities as the most sustainable and equitable way for the DC region to grow and provide opportunities for all. 

We wish to express our strong support for the proposed capital budget that will make critical investments in rental housing programs and community revitalization. The FY25 capital budget proposes $110 million in rental housing support, doubling what was provided in the last budget. This would create thousands of desperately needed quality homes for low- and moderate-income families. This investment provides essential funding to the successful Rental Housing Works (RHW) program. 

Low-income Marylanders increasingly struggle to find decent homes for their families that they can afford. With the spending down of federal COVID-19 relief dollars, we must choose wisely how to address the most pressing needs of Marylanders in this budget.

The State Housing Needs Assessment and data from the National Low Income Housing Coalition clearly demonstrate the significant gap between supply and demand for quality affordable rental housing. Fortunately, through Rental Housing Works, DHCD has a program with the proven track record to deliver additional affordable rental housing at the scale and speed needed to meet the need.  The program has the pipeline needed to quickly deploy additional RHW funding. 

This funding helps Marylanders throughout the state, but we have specific experience with Prince George’s County which we would like to highlight. Prince George’s County has aggressively leveraged local funds in concert with an effective right of first refusal law to purchase, renovate and preserve affordable housing. The County cannot do it alone, however, and needs the support of the state to deliver on its ambitious pipeline of preserving quality affordable homes to low-income residents. 

We ask for the committee’s support for the Governor’s FY25 budget request to invest in critically needed affordable housing, better communities, and stronger families throughout Maryland. 

Thank you for your consideration.

Cheryl Cort
Policy Director