Governor Wes Moore Announces Program to Increase Homeownership Opportunities in Underinvested Communities


Per the State of Maryland: “Governor Wes Moore today announced the UPLIFT (Utilizing Progressive Lending Investments to Finance Transformation) program to increase homeownership opportunities, one of the most powerful drivers of the racial wealth gap, in chronically underinvested communities with a history of redlining. Administered through the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, the program will address homes impacted by appraisal gaps by accelerating the pace of new construction and rehabilitation of quality affordable housing in strategically identified communities across Maryland.

“Tackling the racial wealth gap is a core priority of the Moore-Miller Administration. We must actively work to reverse decades of disinvestment through good policy decisions and innovative programs like this one,” said Gov. Moore. “Maryland will be a leader in these efforts, and we will continue to expand work, wages, and wealth for all Maryland families.”

UPLIFT builds on the department’s past initiatives to create a public-private partnership to invest in disinvested communities. Through the program, selected developers will build, sell, and rehabilitate quality affordable housing in targeted neighborhoods in accordance with design and construction standards that ensure quality, timely production, and accountability.

Homes in these communities appraise for less than the cost to build due to patterns of historic disinvestment depressing the home values. UPLIFT funds the difference between the appraised value and the sales price, and over time the new homes will elevate home values and reduce the gap in UPLIFT neighborhoods. Additionally, 25% of the homes in the program will be reserved for households with incomes below the area median income to become homeowners.

Funded for $10 million through the Fiscal Year 2024 budget, UPLIFT builds on the department’s Homeownership Works (HOW) pilot program, created in 2021. The first phase of the program is investing $10 million into new construction and rehabilitation projects in two Maryland neighborhoods, Johnston Square in Baltimore and Pine Street in Cambridge.

On November 15, the first four homes in Johnston Square rehabilitated through the pilot program were celebrated in a ribbon cutting ceremony. The four homes, valued at approximately $24,000 pre-rehabilitation, are now entering the market priced in the low $300,000 range.

“We have an opportunity to counteract historic disinvestment in our communities by building vibrant neighborhoods, improving home energy efficiency and quality of life, and building social connections between residents,” said Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Jake Day. “This is just the beginning of those efforts, and we will continue to create new opportunities for Maryland homeowners to thrive.”

UPLIFT projects are required to be located in both a Low-Income Census Tract and in an area designated as a Maryland Sustainable Community. To identify qualifying areas, visit https://maryland.maps.arcgis.com/apps/instant/lookup/index.html?appid=dff652a3d61a4d79abfc64f37be38689&locale=en&findSource=2&find=12455%252C%2520Margaretville%252C%2520New%2520York.
To review the UPLIFT draft program guide, visit https://dhcd.maryland.gov/HousingDevelopment/Pages/UPLIFT.aspx. Comments will be accepted through December 29 and can be sent to [email protected]. The UPLIFT program application will open in early 2024.

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