How the Department of Housing and Community Development Supports Military and Community Compatible Use

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Maryland ​​Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) promotes and preserves homeownership through housing policies and creates community development initiatives that support the needs of the state. DHCD offers a number of programs that help low-income families purchase homes or secure affordable housing, and maintains a portfolio of community development and revitalization programs that help Maryland's towns and cities thrive.

A high quality of life for service members and their families is key to supporting military readiness; this includes the quality of housing. Service members and their families deal with frequent relocations; therefore, it is important that defense communities offer stability and support services for day-to-day life and quality housing for military families who are looking for off-base housing or other privatized living options. DHCD's array of programs are applicable to Maryland's military families and defense communities looking to support affordable housing for military service members.

DHCD's Neighborhood Revitalization Division hosts a portfolio of loan, grant, and technical assistance programs with the goal of helping local governments, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations reinvest in and revitalize their communities. These programs offer a wide range of opportunities and options for communities surrounding military installations looking to diversify community offerings and amenities for base personnel. Additionally, DHCD's Community Development Administration is specifically focused on providing single and multifamily housing and finance resources for home seekers.

DHCD plays a key supporting role in implementing the recommendations of the 2019 Statewide Joint Land Use Response Implementation Strategy related to housing and quality of life to support community and military compatibility.

Compatibility Factors relevant to the Department of Housing and Community Development: Coordination/Communication, Legislative Initiatives

Relevant Programs and Plans

Opportunity Zones


The Opportunity Zones Program is an economic development tool created by the U.S. Treasury that encourages investment and the creation of jobs in distressed areas by providing tax credits to investors. Maryland has 149 Opportunity Zones that have been designated by the U.S. Treasury, based on eligible Census tracts nominated by the Governor. An Opportunity Zone designation is active for a 10-year period and includes some communities that border or are near military installations.

DHCD administers the program with support from Commerce and offers a portfolio of programs to enhance investment in Opportunity Zones. This includes programs that support affordable housing and homeownership, business creation, expansion, and retention, community development and revitalization, and job creation and workforce training.

DHCD has developed a series of resources to facilitate information exchange and collaboration to maximize financial and other incentives that are available at the state, county, and municipal levels. This includes the Opportunity Zone Information Exchange, a virtual resource for investors, developers, fund managers, and local stakeholders to find information on projects and businesses in Opportunity Zones, as well as available financial incentives.

Opportunity Zones in communities that border, or are near a military installation, are encouraged to consider the financial incentives and programs that are offered to stimulate and strengthen economic and community development. For example, the Town of Indian Head, which hosts Naval Support Facility Indian Head in Charles County, secured additional funding for the development of the Velocity Center, a collaborative learning space utilized by the Navy and the community that supports workforce development and economic growth in southern Maryland.

Visit DHCD's Opportunity Zone webpage to access the Incentive Lookup tool and other fact sheets on Opportunity Zones to assist in identifying state and local financial incentives, tax credits, and other grant opportunities, for a business or project.

Sustainable Communities


DHCD's Sustainable Communities Program is a place-based designation facilitating access to the department's neighborhood revitalization capital grants. To be eligible for State Revitalization Program funding (see program below), a project must be within a Sustainable Community. Local governments and nonprofit 501(c)(3)s are eligible grant recipients. Funding supports neighborhood and community revitalization, environmental and economic sustainability, affordable housing, blight remediation, and open space development projects, among other quality of life areas. Competitive funding is available annually and the Sustainable Communities designations must be renewed every 5 years. The Compatibility Mapping Tool includes a layer displaying all Sustainable Communities in Maryland.

As part of a new or renewal Sustainable Communities application, jurisdictions must complete an action plan outlining the revitalization strategies it intends to implement over the five-year designation period. Proposed revitalization projects that align with action plans are more likely to be funded as part of the annual competitive grant process. Sustainable Communities must be within locally designated Priority Funding Areas, and ideally should include only those portions of a jurisdiction considered to be an established community. DHCD, which is supported by an interagency review team, is less likely to approve a greenfield area (or undeveloped area) for designation.

A Sustainable Communities designation requires a Sustainable Communities Workgroup to be formed. The workgroup helps develop the application and implement the action plan, including the proposal of revitalization projects. Local governments should include military representatives on the workgroup if the community applying is located near an installation or when the identified projects will impact a nearby military installation. A military representative can help local governments identify where an installation would like to avoid development. Equipped with this knowledge, local governments can better align their Sustainable Communities boundaries to promote civilian-military compatible use. Local governments, community organizations, and military installations can also partner on action plan development to ensure that projects included in the action plan support the mission of the local military installation are included and those that are incompatible are excluded.

State Revitalization Programs


DCHD offers a suite of State Revitalization Programs (SRP) with the goal of providing a range of funding to further revitalization goals in communities across the state. To be eligible for a SRP, projects should be located within a Sustainable Community and support the outcomes that are a part of the Sustainable Communities Action Plan.

Similiar to Opportunity Zones, many Sustainable Communities are located near a military installation . SRP funding is most commonly focused on revitalization projects that are targeted to commercial and residential areas and could be a valuable tool in increasing desirability of these communities and providing additional ammenties for military families that move to the area, as well as economic and site development outside of the gates that supports the military mission and community development goals. To learn more about the list of funding programs that are a part of the SRP, visit their webpage or read more about the program guidelines. The state also has regional project managers who can answer questions about these programs, eligibility, and current funding opportunities.

Homeownership and Rental Programs


There are numerous programs to support homebuyers, homeowners, and renters in Maryland. Ranging from mortgage and downpayment assistance to loans and grants for home repairs and tools to find affordable housing, there are many housing solutions available for military families moving into a new community.


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