"Highlandtown... The Heart of Baltimore"
The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MIMA) would like to remind you that immigrants who are Baltimore City residents may be eligible for legal services (including representation if they are detained) through Safe City Baltimore. You can find descriptions of services available through Safe City Baltimore and contact information for service providers in the graphic below.
Additionally, given the rumored increase in immigration enforcement, please remember that EVERYONE in the United States, regardless of immigration status, has rights. Please review the Know Your Rights information below. Additional Know Your Rights information in Spanish, Chinese, and Korean is attached.
Please feel free to share these graphics and information via social media, or share MIMA’s related Facebook posts: https://www.facebook.com/MIMABaltimore/
Minority Mental Health Awareness Month
July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. This year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) will join partners in raising awareness about mental illness and its effects on racial and ethnic minority populations.
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), minority populations in the U.S. are less likely to have access to mental health services and less likely to use community mental health services.
Visit the OMH National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month webpage for more information on resources, programs and partnerships that aim to reduce mental health disparities among minority populations.
Maryland Department of Health Offers Online Suicide Prevention Module
Online Suicide Prevention Module Now Available
With funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Maryland Suicide Prevention and Early Intervention Network has diligently been working over the last several months to develop a free online suicide prevention module. MD-SPIN is happy to announce that our online module is now available.
The Suicide Prevention Training module provides basic information on suicide including risk factors, protective factors, warning signs, and how to begin a conversation with someone you are concerned about. The module offers a brief opportunity to practice having a conversation with someone who is thinking about suicide and how to develop a safety plan and encourage the person to seek professional help. This course is designed for anyone who may come into contact with someone at risk for suicide and does not require a clinical background.
The online suicide prevention module is titled 'Suicide Prevention Training: Recognize, Ask, Care, Encourage' and can be accessed on the Maryland Behavioral Health website.
The Maryland Apprenticeship and Training Council has approved for accreditation the newly-instituted Cadet-Apprentice Program, effective immediately. Qualified individuals can enter the Cadet program at age 18 and continue until 20.5 years, when they are then eligible to enter the Police Academy. Cadets will be involved with structured on-the-job learning, paired with rigorous educational programming and coordinated mentoring. Cadets’ starting salary is $30,000 and they will receive full employment benefits. There are currently 11 cadets in the program and we hope to expand it to up to 20 Cadets by year-end.
Mobile WorkForce Center
Ensuring that every Baltimore City resident who wishes to work is able to find suitable employment, it was my pleasure to christen our new Mobile Workforce Center. Operated by the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development, the Mobile Workforce Center will bring job resources to citizens and provide services such as job readiness assessments, résumé review and customization, job referral assistance, recruitment and resource information event information. This roving employment resource is equipped with 16 computer workstations, laptops to increase service capacity to up to 24 customers at a time, satellite internet access, exterior audio visual and broadcasting capabilities, as well as tables and chairs for outdoor presentations. For more information about where the Mobile Workforce Center will be in the community, check regularly at: https://moed.baltimorecity.gov/mobile-workforce-center
Violence Reduction Initiative
Each and every day of the work week, leaders from every City agency join me in meeting with Police District Commanders as part of our Violence Reduction Initiative (VRI) to identify and develop solutions to neighborhood issues that have the potential to lead to violence and crime. This Violence Once a week, we walk throughout a specific neighborhood to meet with community leaders and residents and see first-hand the problems that threaten the safety of citizens and their quality of life. This initiative – along with our bi-monthly “Call to Action” meetings is leading to clear and positive results. Crime continues to decline in every category: homicides are down 20%; non-fatal shootings are down 10%, overall violent crime is down 16%, burglaries are down 28%, and aggravated assaults are down 13%. Overall, total crime in the city is down 18% compared to the same period last year. We will continue to be relentless in our efforts to reduce crime and create a City worthy of all our citizens.
Affordable Housing Trust Fund
This week we announced a historic agreement to fund the Affordable Housing Trust Fund which will increase affordable housing options for Baltimore's low-income residents. Joined by Council President Jack Young, Council Members and community advocates, I announced my Administration's commitment to allocate at least $20 million annually over a 4-year period to the Trust Fund.Without question, this is the surest path to uplifting our most vulnerable City residents and creating more promising pathways for them and their families.
Baltimore Healthy Start Fatherhood Symposium - For more than two decades, Baltimore Healthy Start Inc. has been investing in the health and well-being of Baltimore’s families. Head Start pushes to reduce perinatal health disparities, including infant mortality, by providing direct services to pregnant and postpartum women, their infants and fathers living in socially, economically, and medically disadvantaged communities.
Today, the New York Times reported that the Baltimore City attack and other attacks against cities and towns across the U.S. are the result of a National Security Agency (N.S.A.) developed Cyberweapon that was stolen in a security breach. The N.S.A. Cyberweapon, named “EternalBlue” is estimated to have caused billions of dollars in damages and is thought to be the most destructive and costly N.S.A. security breach in history.
Last week, Council President Scott called for the creation of a Special City Council Committee on Cybersecurity and Emergency Preparedness to investigate the attack calling it a “crisis of the utmost urgency”. http://baltimorecitycouncil.com/content/council-president-calls-special-committee-cybersecurity-and-emergency-preparedness
“I’m confident that our state leadership will do what is right for Maryland’s largest city and citizens that have been attacked, likely by foreign actors, through no fault of their own,” Council President Scott continued. “The fact that the root technology that enabled this attack came from our own federal government, just miles away, only adds insult to injury. I’m also confident that our federal delegation understands that Cybersecurity is a critically important threat that can wreak disastrous consequences and must be categorized accordingly," Council President Scott concluded.
Friends & Neighbors,
The 2019 legislative session is over and I am back home in Baltimore full time. It was a session for the history books, but not necessarily for all good reasons. As you probably know, our Speaker Michael Busch died this past Sunday, the day before Sine Die (the last day of session). Although I was heartbroken to hear the news on Sunday, walking into the House chamber on Monday morning and seeing his empty chair, I felt the enormity of the loss. We passed his final bill later that day (to help reform the University of Maryland Medical System), and held a short memorial with tributes from members that evening just before midnight. The Speaker had an enormous influence on me and has been a champion for Baltimore. I am so grateful to have known him and served under him, and will always strive to live up to the example he set as a true public servant leader.
Below you will find a short recap of some of the major pieces of legislation we passed this session and information about the FY20 budget. For my full End of Session Report, please click HERE.
The Maryland General Assembly completed our 439th Legislative Session on April 8th. As always, I am grateful for the trust you have put in me as one of your elected representatives in Annapolis. This was my first year serving as the Vice Chair of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, and I was appointed to serve on the Kirwan Commission at this critical moment as we develop an equitable public school funding formula over the next nine months.
I want to specifically thank my three phenomenal 46th District partners - Delegates Luke Clippinger, Brooke Lierman, and Robbyn Lewis - all three are top-tier lawmakers in their own right. Together, we passed significant legislation that will make real, positive changes for Maryland’s residents, particularly for those living and working in Baltimore City’s 46th Legislative District.
Here is an overview of some of my legislation and the most important issues contemplated by the Maryland General Assembly during the 2019 Legislative Session which garnered significant advocacy from constituents in District 46:
State Senator Bill Ferguson
I am committed to helping small businesses grow and thrive in our state. In that effort, here are several resources that may be of interest to small business owners in Maryland.
Resources for Small Businesses
· Permanent Extension of Small Business Expensing: The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 made the Section 179 tax deduction for small businesses permanent at the $500,000 level. This will allow our nation's small businesses to deduct the full purchase price of qualifying equipment and/or software purchased or financed during the tax year. Businesses exceeding a total of $2 million of purchases in qualifying equipment have the Section 179 deduction phase-out dollar-for-dollar and completely eliminated above $2.5 million. Additionally, the Section 179 cap will be indexed to inflation in $10,000 increments in future years.
· Increasing Capital Available for Small Business: The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 created the Small Business Lending Fund (SBLF), a dedicated fund of $30 billion in low-cost capital made accessible to qualified community banks (assets less than $10 billion) to encourage lending to small business. As of December 2015, the United States Treasury Department reported that participating lending institutions had increased lending by over $17.2 billion since the program's inception.
· Building on the Success of the 504 Loan Program: The 504 loan program provides capital for fixed asset projects, such as purchasing land and improvements; construction of new facilities; modernizing, renovating or converting existing facilities; or purchasing machinery and equipment. To ensure small businesses have access to 504 loans, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has reduced or eliminated the fees associated with this lending program and has increased the maximum loan size to $5.5 million. Since its launch, the 504 loan program has created over 2 million jobs -- a proven win-win for businesses and lenders.
· Expanding the 7(a) Loan Guarantee Program: The 7(a) loan program provides capital to establish a new business or to assist in the operation, acquisition or expansion of an existing business. The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 permanently increased the maximum 7(a) loan size from $2 million to $5 million -- helping provide the capital needed to help small businesses expand for the future.
· Boosting Small Business Lending Micro-Loan Program: This SBA program provides very small loans to start-ups and newly established or growing small businesses. Under the SBA Micro-Loan Program, SBA makes funds available to nonprofit, community-based lenders that, in turn, make loans to eligible borrowers in amounts up to a maximum of $35,000.
· U.S. Small Business Administration: The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses. Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, SBA delivers its services to people across Maryland and throughout the United States (http://www.sba.gov). Contact: 1-800-827-5722 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
· Maryland Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC): The Maryland Small Business & Technology Development Center (MDSBTDC) Network provides sound advice, counseling and support to entrepreneurs and small to mid-size businesses across the state. The Network links private enterprise, government, higher education and local economic development organizations to provide management, training and technical assistance to Maryland's small businesses (http://www.mdsbdc.umd.edu). Contact: (301) 403-0501.
· Maryland Procurement Technical Assistance Program (PTAP). The Baltimore-Washington corridor is also home to a large community of small businesses that compete for the vast array of government contracts awarded by the federal government each year. The federal government has set a goal of awarding 23 percent of all contracts to small businesses. The Maryland Procurement Technical Assistance Program assists Maryland small businesses in how to do business with federal, state, and local government agencies (https://www.mdptac.org/).
· Statewide Procurement Assistance: (301) 403-2740 or email@example.com.
· BusinessUSA is a new online resource that makes it easier for America's businesses to access the services and information they need to grow, hire, and export. For more information, visit www.usa.gov/business.
For more information about specific tax provisions as they apply to your business, please visit www.irs.gov or contact the IRS small business helpline at 1-800-829-4933.
John P. Sarbanes
Maryland's Third Congressional District
Hogan Administration Announces New Maryland Workforce Expressway Website
Multi-agency Collaboration Offers Education, Training, and Employment Resources to Connect Businesses with Skilled Workers
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan, in collaboration with the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, Maryland Department of Commerce, Maryland State Department of Education, Maryland Higher Education Commission, Maryland Department of Human Services, and the State Department of Assessments and Taxation, unveiled the Maryland Workforce Expressway, a new website that connects businesses to the full array of state workforce development resources in Maryland.
“Our administration is committed to using every resource possible to provide excellent customer service to our citizens,” said Governor Hogan. “This innovative website will modernize the way our businesses connect with Maryland’s incredible array of workforce resources, helping our businesses identify and grow their talent.”
The new website, www.maryland.gov/workforce, hosts nearly 50 workforce resources in one, easy-to-navigate location. Previously spread across many state agencies, the Expressway is a single source for links to talent engagement services, workforce education, hiring incentives, workforce training grants, labor and industry standards, and reemployment services. By streamlining access to state workforce resources, Maryland employers can more easily access the tools and services they need to secure and develop their talent pipelines.
This month, the Department of Planning had to nimbly adjust operations after the ransomware attack. We have set up alternative e-mail addresses for all staff, which are publicly available on our website via this link.
From Baltimore City Department of Planning
Middle Branch Design Competition: Public Comment Now Open
Three leading landscape architecture firms (James Corner Field Operations, Hargreaves Jones, and West 8) have assembled teams of local and international experts to compete for the chance to design Baltimore’s next great recreational and natural waterfront on the Middle Branch.
Between May 29 and June 12, 2019, you can view and comment on competition designs at exhibits held on or near the waterfront or at your convenience from any computer or hand-held device.
See and comment on designs online:
Green, Healthy, Smart Challenge Grant is due by November 2019 (rolling application process). The Green, Healthy, Smart Challenge is a grant program for student-led sustainability projects in Baltimore City Public Schools. Students must be a part of an organized green team that meets to complete their project. Teams just starting to develop sustainability initiatives can apply for up to $1,000.
Dockless Scooters - Share your opinion!
Baltimore's Department of Transportation (DOT) has released a survey about mobility and the impact of dockless vehicles (scooters and bikes). The survey is NOW OPEN and will inform the evaluation of the dockless pilot program.
Neighborhood associations can request paper copies and send group recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org . Take the survey and have your voice heard!
Link to survey: https://goo.gl/forms/PvQg7AgXxgzVgPWn2
Less Waste, Better Baltimore
Get involved in the Less Waste, Better Baltimore Plan. DPW needs your help as it conducts a master planning effort to identify options for improving solid waste diversion, recycling, and disposal in the City.
The Planning Commission meets regularly each month. All meetings are held in the Phoebe B. Stanton Boardroom of the Department of Planning, located on the 8th floor of 417 East Fayette Street and are open to the public. Live streaming is available.
The agenda and staff reports are available on this website.
Historic Tax Credit Program
For information on the local historic tax credit program, please see https://chap.baltimorecity.gov/tax-credits
State Department of Assessments & Taxation
SDAT Offers Tax Relief, Mails More Than 75,000 Postcards for
Tax Credit Awareness Campaign
Encourages Low-income Homeowners and Renters to Apply for Property
The Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) is urging Marylanders to consider whether they may be eligible to receive a homeowners’ or renters’ property tax credit and to submit an application before the September 1 deadline. As part of this awareness campaign, this week SDAT mailed 77,544 postcards to low-income Maryland homeowners who may be eligible to receive a credit, but have not yet submitted an application. SDAT representatives have consistently participated in various community outreach events throughout the year hosted by senior centers, neighborhood alliances, and non-profit organizations to educate Marylanders about tax relief that may be available to them.
The Homeowners’ Property Tax Credit Program provides tax relief for eligible homeowners by setting a limit on the amount of property taxes owed based on their income. If a resident has already paid their property taxes and applies before September 1, any tax credit that the homeowner may be eligible for will be refunded by their county finance office. The Renters’ Property Tax Credit Program similarly provides tax relief for eligible renters who pay high monthly rent relative to their total income. This credit is issued in the form of a direct check payment of up to $1,000 a year.
To determine whether you are eligible to receive a tax credit, you may visit the links above or call 410-767-4433 or 1-800-944-7403 (toll free within Maryland). To receive an application, please email email@example.com or call 410-767-4238.
These credits must be applied for annually by September 1. In 2017, approximately 47,000 homeowners received an average of $1,339 in tax relief, while more than 8,800 renters received an average of $402 in tax relief. Combined, these two tax credit programs saved Maryland taxpayers more than $65 million last year. After the 2017 Tax Credit Awareness Campaign, an additional 10,000 Maryland homeowners and renters applied for a tax credit. Many counties and municipalities also provide supplemental credits, which provide additional tax relief. If a resident is approved to receive the state credit, they will automatically receive any local supplemental credit for which they are eligible.
In order to educate Maryland homeowners and renters about the availability of these tax credits, SDAT has been proactively sharing this information with the public through direct mail, email campaigns, social media, and other forms of community outreach.
Guest Speaker at HCA Meeting on 16 April 2018
We want to thank Baltimore City's 25th State Attorney Marilyn Mosby for attending our community meeting and answering our questions. Though we have a long road ahead in fixing issues surrounding criminal justice, we are thankful that you attended our meeting and shared your vision.
Going to College Next Year or know someone that is?
FASFA is the first and most important step to receiving Financial Aid. The FAFSA is a form you have to fill out in order to get financial aid, and colleges and universities use the FAFSA to award state and college aid. If you need financial aid, please go to Fasfa.com and proceed as prompted to do. The process is free.
CollegeBound Foundation 2019-2020 Last Dollar Grants & Competitive Scholarships
CollegeBound’s 2019-2020 scholarship and grant award season is now open. Apply Now!
Now accepting applications for its Last-Dollar Grant award (up to $3,000). To qualify, a student must be a 2019 graduate from a Baltimore City Public High School and demonstrate an economic need. Also available are over 60 scholarships based on academic merit or service learning, ranging from a one-time $400 award to a four-year full tuition award. Applications are due by March 1 and are available online at mycbf.awardspring.com
In addition to school related matters, the Kirwan Commission's excellent preliminary report has provided a guidepost and vision for major policy and funding reform to genuinely improve the long-term prospects of our State's economic future. Want to help change the world? Check out Strong Schools Maryland today to see how you can be a part of making this vision for a world class education a reality in our State. You can access the full report here and the PDF version here.
Last but not least, Strong Schools Maryland consists of hundreds of grassroots activists across Maryland speaking up and saying that the current education system is failing many of our students and crippling our economy. They know that the best way to ensure lasting change is to create the public will necessary to force our leaders to implement solutions we know work. Join the organization in building the public will to create a world-class education system for every student.
The objective for Strong Schools Maryland is to create a system in which the following three ideas are true:
(1) All Maryland students graduate with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in post-secondary education without the need for remediation.
(2) All Maryland students graduate with the knowledge and skills to succeed in a career in which they find satisfaction and earn a living wage.
(3) All Maryland students graduate with the knowledge and skills to be an effective citizen
South Baltimore Adult High School - The website for the adult high school coming to South Baltimore is live and can be found here! The adult high school is slated to open in the Fall 2019 as a degree-issuing institution for adults over 21 who want to earn their high diploma.
AN UNOFFICIAL STRATEGY TO DEAL WITH ILLEGAL DUMPING
Baltimore has a major problem with dumping in our streets and alleys. The city asks residents to make use of the 311 system, but does not seem to be willing to invest in enforcement. Many believe that the cost of enforcement would be offset by the reduced costs associated with clean up. The cost of cleanup is not the only expense. Filth and trash are unsightly and attract rats which carry disease. Property values, and the related tax revenue to the city, are reduced.
Here is a list of possible strategies:
Use 311 whenever there is dumping – please be vigilant, this will not be resolved quickly
There is a free 311 phone app that automatically records 311 report numbers which allow you to track every 311 report you have ever made
It can be found at Google Play and the Apple Store
You can easily attach pictures to your report
It uses your phones GPS to record the location, although it often is not accurate enough to pin point the exact address – you can adjust the location or record the address in the body of the comment area
City employees may call you with questions or to follow up, so we know that the reports are seen
Contact your city council representatives and provide them with the 311 report numbers
East of Conkling Street contact Brandon Scott’s office at 410-396-4808 or at Brandon.Scott@baltimorecity.gov
West of Conkling Street contact Zeke Cohen’s Director of Civic Engagement, Joshua Thomson at 410-396-4821 or at Joshua.Thomson@baltimorecity.gov
copy the Highlandtown Community Asso. at firstname.lastname@example.org
Your 311 report numbers
Any relevant pictures, including pictures that may show the dumping in progress and license plate numbers
Pictures of any incriminating evidence, such as mail with an address, found in the debris
Always ask your city councilman for stepped up enforcement, not just clean up
The Highlandtown Community Association has a portable motion activated camera with night vision (aka a wildlife/deer camera) that can be used to capture pictures at chronic dump sites. This camera requires a location where it is unlikely to be noticed or tampered with. If you have a chronic dump site you may request use of the camera at email@example.com . Please include your phone number and be prepared to help locate a good spot to place the camera.
From the office of Senator Bill Ferguson
Members of Team 46 (Senator Bill Ferguson and Delegates Luke Clippinger, Brooke Lierman, and Robbyn Lewis) offer a framework and concrete ideas for moving forward to combat the crime plaguing our streets and to create safe and healthy neighborhoods. This is not the beginning of the conversation, and it’s certainly not the end: these are our thoughts after talking with many individuals engaged every day in this work - and we look forward to hearing your thoughts as well. We propose these ideas for the purpose of starting a discussion that government, civic, and business leaders must have now so that we can address violence and crime head-on...
To comprehensively address this crisis, each of these recommendations requires leaders in the Baltimore region to consistently meet, plan, and implement an identified game plan. We need ongoing programming, innovation, and experimentation to create opportunity, reduce violence, and restore the level of trust in relationships between our communities and law enforcement. This collaborative and data-driven work should include participation of electeds, emergency responders, police (leadership and patrol officers), teachers, counselors, juvenile justice workers, judges, community leaders, and state/federal partners.
Finally, our approach must recognize that we only resolve this crisis sustainably when we create real opportunities for Baltimoreans: jobs, training, education, reliable transit, addiction counseling/ treatment, and affordable housing. We cannot ignore the deeper, structural problems that lead to crime — lack of economic opportunity, lack of education, addiction, structural racism, youth unemployment, segregated housing — each of which contributes to the broader landscape that causes crime spikes. Unfortunately, though, when crime reaches levels we are experiencing today, tackling these larger challenges becomes nearly impossible. We must triage the emergency, establish a path to a violence-free future, and work every day and every session toward reaching that vision of a safer, more equitable Baltimore.
Read our policy paper, Baltimore PROSPERS by clicking here.
Highlandtown's very own Agnes Arnold has been awarded the annual "Citizen of the Year" award by the Exchange Club of Highlandtown/Canton for outstanding dedication to the citizens and the community. Here she accepts her award along with Pastor Mark Parker (left), the incoming President of the Exchange Club. Residents of Highlandtown thank Agnes & Mark for their continued efforts to improve our neighborhood!