As Prepared for Delivery
Secretary Skinner, thank you for the introduction. Vincent Leggett, thank you for hosting us at Obery Court today. It’s great to join you here at the future site of a beautiful new affordable housing development, created in partnership with Mark Dambly and everyone at Pennrose Properties.
I’d like to recognize the work of the Maryland Affordable Housing Coalition, represented here today by their President, Trudy McFall, for creating innovative solutions to address our affordable housing needs.
Our legislative session started yesterday, and our laser focus once again is jobs, jobs, jobs. And that’s why we’re here today.
It’s been a great week. On Monday, together with the Piscataway people, we recognized two petitions for Maryland Indian Status – for the first time ever in the 380-year history of our State.
On Tuesday, I visited Germantown Elementary School in Annapolis. Six years ago, Lt. Governor Brown and I toured the temporary learning shacks students were learning in. Today, they have a brand new school building with a state-of-the art-science lab, a computer lab, and Smart Boards that make learning come alive,… all built with the help of the record investments we’ve made in school construction these last five years. This session, we’re asking the General Assembly to make a $373 million investment in school construction; an investment that will support 11,650 jobs.
Today, we’re here to announce a new job creation initiative, Rental Housing Works. It is designed to close the gap in our rental housing needs, invest in our economy, and create jobs.
We can only have a strong, growing upwardly mobile middle class,… we can only reach our full potential for creating jobs and expanding opportunity,… and we can only protect our quality of life, if we recognize this truth: that there is there is no more powerful place in our State than a family’s home and nothing more important for protecting that home than a job. We’re united by our belief in the dignity of every individual, and we’re united by our shared responsibility to advance the greater good.
We’re made real progress: last year, through November, we created nearly 27,000 net new Maryland jobs – more than twice as many as our neighbors in Virginia, for our best year of new job creation since 2005.
And, we have even more good news to report: in 2011, we achieved the lowest number of foreclosures in our State since 2006. We are moving forward, but we’re not out of the woods. I’ll talk more about what we’re doing to keep fighting foreclosures in a minute.
CLOSING THE AFFORDABLE RENTAL HOUSING GAP
Today, we’re proposing to invest $15 million from our capital budget in our new Rental Housing Works initiative – which will bring our investment in affordable rental housing to its highest level in 20 years.
Our $15 million investment would allow us to leverage an additional $285 million in private sector funding. All told, that’s a $300 million investment in new affordable rental housing, which would allow us to build over 1,700 new affordable rental housing units, support nearly 1,100 jobs, and generate $36 million in state and local taxes over the next decade and a half. These projects are ready to go – all they need is the funding, and many of them can start building this year.
Middle class families in our country have been hit with the one-two punch of the foreclosure crisis and a lack of affordable rental housing. Fifty years ago, about a quarter of renters paid more than 30 percent of their household income in rent and utilities – a precarious economic position for any family. Today, across our country, it’s nearly 1 in 2,… and a record number of renters now pay more than half their income in rent. Here in Maryland, we’re facing a shortfall of nearly 127,000 affordable rental housing units over the next four years.
Through Rental Housing Works, we will work to address those critical housing needs. It’s a fund we will use to identify shovel-ready projects, and get them the extra gap funding they need to get the project started.
Since 2007, working together with our partners in Washington, we’ve helped finance the construction and preservation of more than 10,000 rental housing units for our State’s families during the toughest of times – which meant an investment of more than $1.5 billion into our economy and the creation of thousands of jobs.
And as I mentioned, we’re making real progress to help families save their homes from foreclosure, but we still have a long way to go. And we’re going to keep rolling up our sleeves and fighting for every home as if it’s our own.
So far, together, we’ve been able to save about 17,000 homes,… we’ve helped more than 70,000 Marylanders through our HOPE Network,… and we’ve passed what the Washington Post has called some of the most “sweeping” foreclosure reforms, including reforms that force mortgage companies to come to the settlement table before they can throw a family out of their home.
There are some challenges so large we can only accomplish them together. Creating jobs, expanding opportunity, supporting and growing our middle class,… these things won’t happen by themselves. They require balanced choices – a balanced approach of fiscally responsible cuts and targeted, modern investments to recapitalize Maryland’s future.
We need each of you to join with us to make the tough, balanced choices to create a stronger future. Thank you for all you’ve done to support our families.
And now I’d like to introduce Trudy McFall, president of the Maryland Affordable Housing Coalition.