MIH Testifies at the Maryland General Assembly

On Feb. 22 and 23, MIH submitted oral and written testimony concerning the FY25 Budget of the Maryland Department of Health Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA). 

Jason Leonard, a gentleman living with Traumatic Brain Injury. MIH helped him attain the inclusive housing of his choice, where he can live with optimum independence, delivered testimony on Feb. 22 during the to the Maryland House Health and Social Services Subcommittee. He was joined by MIH Director of Housing Support Services Lauren Silverstone, who worked with Jason to find the housing of his choice. 

Leonard explained how he was receiving services for his head injury rehabilitation at his group home and could continue providing DDA Support Living Services in this new setting. He talked about how Lauren understood his desire to live in his own home and helped him make his dreams come true. 

Silverstone told the committee that MIH provides Housing Support Services throughout the State to help individuals find housing. She introduced Jason Leonard as one of the over 120 people that MIH works with weekly to help them find inclusive and affordable housing. 

The following day, MIH Executive Director Tim Wiens and Director of Housing Char McCready provided testimony to the Senate Health and Human Services Subcommittee. 

Wiens spoke of MIH’s support for the DDA Rent Subsidy Program. “Our clients often are living on a fixed budget and do not have a full-time job. DDARSP makes housing drastically more affordable and makes finding housing for our clients much easier. MIH supports the additional $1million included in the proposed FY25 budget for this program. We understand that this will provide affordable housing for an additional 100 people. This program is vital to the work that we do at MIH.” 

McCready told the committee about legislation recently passed in Baltimore City that will increase affordable housing opportunities for city residents. She helped advocate and pass Baltimore City’s newest version of the Inclusionary Housing law and the city’s first affordable housing tax credit. In qualified new rental properties, 10% of the apartments will be affordable, half at 50% AMI and 60% respectfully. Ten percent of the new apartments will serve marginalized people. Ten percent of qualified apartments will be accessible to people with disabilities through programs like the DDA Rental Subsidy.   

“By supporting the DDA budget, MIH will continue its mission and ensure the disability community is represented in housing throughout the state,” McCready concluded. “MIH represents the IDD and other disability communities at the table statewide, ensuring that the direct and indirect housing-related needs of Marylanders with disabilities are heard.”   

Wiens also submitted testimony for Senate Bill 773 and House Bill 783, which would prohibit a recorded covenant or restriction, a provision in a declaration, or a provision in the bylaws or rules of a homeowner’s association (HOA) from restricting or prohibiting long-term rentals. 

“This law would help many people have better access to housing in Maryland, including people with disabilities,” said Wiens in his written testimony.   

The MIH team was able to attend Developmental Disabilities Day at the Legislature and listen to dignitaries such as Gov. Wes Moore, Maryland Secretary of Disabilities Carol Beatty. Maryland Department of Health Secretary Laura Herrara Scott, Deputy Secretary Marlana Hutchinson, State Del. Emily Shetty and State Sen. Cory McCray speak. The team also had the opportunity to meet with McCray in his office about MIH initiatives and the DDA rent subsidy budget.  

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