This month, Dundalk Renaissance was awarded $775,000 to invest in Dundalk by the State of Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development through their Baltimore Regional Neighborhood Initiative. This program seeks to improve quality of life and encourage community stability by investing strategically in housing, neighborhoods, and small business development.
“We are deeply grateful for the State’s ongoing investment in our community, and we look forward to working with our community, business, and development partners to achieve more for Dundalk together,” said Amy Menzer, Executive Director.
We will be able to encourage quality renovations in our focus neighborhoods through our Market Boost program which was awarded $300,000. Goals of the program include producing more renovations for sale for homeownership, increasing appraised values, and supporting higher property values that build wealth for homeowners. Approved contractors will receive $20-30,000 as gap financing and provide the buyer with $3,000 concession. Approved contractors must guarantee their work for a year.
To date, 40 properties have been renovated with Market boost funds with an average increase in post-rehab appraised value of $94,000 per house. In addition, Dundalk Renaissance will invest $200,000 in Turner Station to acquire and renovate properties in coordination with the Turner Station Conversation Teams. The renovated homes with then be available for prospective homebuyers to purchase. Housing Counseling is available through Dundalk Renaissance to prepare local residents to purchase these homes.
Dundalk Renaissance was also awarded $50,000 for home buyer grants this year. Our Home Buyer Grant program will be $5,000 per grantee and is a five-year forgivable loan, meant to incentivize middle income buyers to move to Dundalk and help create economic diversity in our communities. We hope to help home buyers build a stable foundation for their future by weaving in a financial counseling component. All prospective grantees must attend one financial counseling session with our housing and financial counselor, Sonya Dease and have 5% of their home’s purchase price saved before receiving our grant. So far, funds have support over 130 middle income home buyers all over Dundalk.
“It is such a great opportunity to be awarded BRNI funds again this year. It is proof that the work we do here at Dundalk Renaissance is seen as meaningful and impactful to our community,” Tasha Gresham James, our Housing Initiatives Manager, said.
We were also awarded $100,000 in operating support to help us implement our revitalization programs. Finally, $125,000 will support the renovation and expansion of the Community Assistance Network’s Food Pantry and offices. Need for their services has grown during the pandemic, and these funds will help CAN meet the needs of our most vulnerable residents.
Dundalk was fortunate to be included as one of the first 4 communities in the BRNI pilot program in 2014. Since then, the state has awarded over $6 million to Dundalk Renaissance through BRNI and other sources. In addition to the home renovation and home buyer grant numbers noted above, funds have supported over 200 households with renovation grants and loans including older adults to help them age in place, energy retrofits to make homes more efficient and sustainable, and curb appeal improvements and new kitchens and bathrooms. In addition, 18 small businesses in the Historic Dundalk Town Center have undertaken façade improvements and received COVID relief grants.