April 01, 2021 Baltimore County

TOWSON, MD — On the first day of National Fair Housing Month, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today announced plans to introduce legislation to create the County’s first dedicated Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to help ensure access to affordable housing, provide housing stability support, and develop stronger neighborhoods by providing community revitalization supports in a timely and efficient manner.

Of the state’s largest jurisdictions, Baltimore County is the only one that does not currently operate a dedicated housing and community development department.

“Access to quality housing is a fundamental right and we must do whatever we can to build stronger, more resilient neighborhoods across Baltimore County,” Olszewski said. “Amid this pandemic, we’ve provided millions for eviction prevention and other social supports, but we recognize that our work is just beginning. As we plan our long-term recovery, this new department will help Baltimore County ensure the availability of high-quality, affordable housing and continue building capacity in our communities to empower residents to build better lives for themselves and their families.”

Baltimore County’s new Department of Housing and Community Development will improve coordination, eliminate overlapping functions, and streamline planning for key outcomes that are currently dispersed across multiple departments. The components of the new DHCD will include:

  • Baltimore County’s housing stability efforts, such as eviction and foreclosure prevention, tenant counseling, legal services, and benefits navigation support
  • The Office of Housing, which supports efforts to provide affordable housing opportunities for low income families while furthering fair housing efforts and addressing housing discrimination. This office also includes the County’s federally-funded housing inspectors
  • The Neighborhood Improvement Division, which manages state and federal grants for housing development, homeownership services, home modification and rehabilitation programs, and grants to partners
  • The Office of Homeless Services, which works with public and private stakeholders to address and prevent people from experiencing homelessness
  • Oversight of the County’s Voluntary Compliance Agreement (VCA) with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
  • Supporting the work of the County’s Commission on Disabilities
The County’s three homeless shelters and related services will remain under the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Department of Housing and Community Development will manage more than $120 million in state and federal grant funding. Olszewski will include $850,000 for the Department of Housing and Community Development in his Fiscal Year 2022 operating budget, which will be presented to the County Council on April 15, 2021.