Since 2021, MIH has worked with local leaders to establish regional MIH Housing Committees to serve MIH goals within their communities. These committees are composed of people with developmental disabilities and their families, local government officials and service providers. Committees are built differently in each jurisdiction, and they set goals specific to meet the specific needs of the communities.
MIH originally formed committees in Baltimore City, Howard County and Montgomery County, with the intent of eventually reaching throughout the state. In just over two years, these three committees have been successful in building momentum towards reaching their goals. The success has led to the formation of committees on the Eastern Shore and Prince George’s County this spring. These committees are just getting formed, but also have terrific momentum behind them. MIH intends to add more committees across the state as the organization grows.
The committees are intended to help MIH reach its goal of building a more inclusive Maryland for people with disabilities, which was highlighted in the Gov. Wes Moore Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller Transition Report. “We were really excited to see the Moore-Miller administration include Maryland Inclusive Housing in its transition plan,” said MIH Director of Housing Sharonda Huffman, who is responsible for coordinating each of the committees. “As we continue to expand our reach across the state, MIH intends to continue to work diligently with all our committees on a comprehensive plan to increase affordable housing for persons with disabilities.”
Below are highlights of the impact that each of the committees have made so far:
The Baltimore City committee is teaming with MIH to pass the city’s Inclusionary Housing Coalition to help pass an Inclusionary Housing Bill (C.B. 22-0195), that would correct deficiencies in an expired city law. New legislation would require developers to market the affordable units to historically excluded households, including Black families, persons who use vouchers and other residents who have experienced discrimination. MIH’s committee has hosted calls with bill sponsor and city councilmember Odette Ramos, who has explained the legislation and urged our committee members to help.
City councilmember Ryan Dorsey and State Senator Cory McCray have also addressed our committee to discuss partnership and other city housing advocacy issues.
MIH’s Howard County committee has had numerous guests at their meetings including State Senator Guy Guzzone, retired councilmember and former Director of Human Rights Dr. Vernon Gray and Howard County ADA Coordinator Michelle Henry.
The county’s Director of the Department of Housing and Community Development Kelly Cimino has been the committee’s liaison to the development of housing projects such as Roslyn Rise, a remodeled housing development that includes housing for people with disabilities in a modern, accessible and sustainable mixed-income community near downtown Columbia.
MIH’s Montgomery County committee has met with affordable housing developers, including AHC Inc., about its project on Bushey Dr. In Silver Spring. Lincoln Ave. Capital, a family-owned and operated owner, developer and investor in affordable housing nationwide, is interested in partnering with MIH and the committee on future projects.
The committee met with the Deputy Director of the County Department of Housing and Community Affairs and has explored how to use the county’s Housing Initiative Fund (HIF) to create more locally funded vouchers for people with disabilities.
A pilot project is being worked on for web browsers looking for affordable housing units in Rockville that will simplify the navigation and application processes of housing development websites. The project information will be displayed on the MIH website. The hope is for this to expand to other communities in the county and eventually, the state.
Our Eastern Shore met for the first time in March with a diverse array of members from the region. The committee is seeking more representation from local developers, advocates and government.
The Prince George’s County committee also kicked off in March with a meeting that included a discussion with Delegate Tiffany Alston. The Prince George’s County committee is seeking more representation from local developers, advocates and government.