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Live Near Your Work Grant Hits Home as UMB Employees Buy Houses

When the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) relaunched the Live Near Your Work Program this year, President Jay A. Perman, MD, detailed the initiative’s upgrades, putting a focus on the University’s new $1.5 million commitment. Perman said he expected the revised grant from UMB – which increased from $2,500 to $16,000 — to be a “game-changer” for the program when applications opened in late January.

After 3½ months, the game indeed has changed in a big way — and UMB employees Vonetta Edwards, PhD, and C. Steven Douglas, MA, MLS, can attest to that. Both have used the money to help buy homes in Hollins Market, one of seven neighborhoods adjacent to UMB eligible for the program, joining a half-dozen other employees who’ve taken the plunge into homeownership with aid from UMB, with more prospects in the pipeline.

Edwards, a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Genome Sciences at the School of Medicine (UMSOM), moved into her new home in Hollins Market this month, using the grant that includes $16,000 from UMB and $2,500 from the city of Baltimore to help with the down payment and closing costs. As intended, the funds served as a cash catalyst, pushing her to action.

“This is a great program, and it propelled me from thinking about purchasing a home to actually doing it,” said Edwards, who has worked at UMB for 5½ years and had been living in an apartment in Mount Vernon. “Especially for first-time homebuyers, the amount that covers both closing costs and the down payment is almost too good to leave on the table. Even if you do not see it as your ‘forever’ home, you are getting in as the areas develop, so you can consider it an investment.”

Douglas is head of collection strategies and management at the Health Sciences and Human Services Library and a 16-year UMB employee. He had been renting in Hollins Market, and the grant helped him buy a house in the neighborhood. “Its proximity to campus, downtown, and the harbor first attracted me,” he said.

The new homebuyers follow Shea Lawson, a research project coordinator at the Brain and Tissue Bank at UMSOM who was the first UMB employee to close on a home using the new Live Near Your Work (LNYW) grant and moved into a home in Pigtown in March. (Read Shea’s story.) Pigtown/Washington Village,  Barre Circle, Franklin Square, Hollins Market, Mount Clare, Poppleton, and Union Square are the program’s seven targeted neighborhoods.

‘Very Pleased With Progress’

At a news conference launching the revamped program in January, attended by Mayor Catherine Pugh, Perman referred to LNYW as Dawn Rhodes’ “baby,” and Rhodes, MBA, the University’s chief business and finance officer and vice president, is thrilled with her baby’s growth. “We are very pleased with the progress of the improved Live Near Your Work Program,” she said. “It is helping very deserving individuals become homeowners.”

Emily Kordish, UMB benefits manager and coordinator of the LNYW Program, has been helping to guide employees through the process. She’s equally thrilled with the results.

“I’m extremely excited and honored to be a part of a program that has been making such a big impact in our employees’ lives,” Kordish said. “Employees have been contacting me not only to take advantage of this benefit, but to also take the steps so they can be ready to buy. This has truly been a rewarding experience.”

Edwards and Douglas attended an LNYW Program employee kickoff session and information panel at the SMC Campus Center on Jan. 11 and took part in the homebuying counseling sessions and neighborhood tours sponsored by Live Baltimore, one of the initiative’s community partners.

“The counseling sessions provided lots of useful information that helped to demystify the homebuying process,” Douglas said. “And the trolley tour gave me an opportunity to interview real estate agents.”

Edwards said she loved the trolley tour because it gave her a good overview of neighborhoods that she wasn’t too familiar with. “I had heard the names of all of them but did not have a mental geographic map of how they were spread out,” she said. “The tour also allowed you to see which neighborhoods you would be comfortable living in.”

As for the counseling sessions, Edwards said, “They allowed me to determine what payments I felt comfortable with and thus how much house to look for. They also brought up issues and situations that I had not thought about in buying a house, like monthly security system payments, the home warranty, and such.”

Reaping the Benefits

Now that she’s in Hollins Market, Edwards says living close to her workplace is a great benefit.

“I do bench research and sometimes have to come in on the weekend,” she said. “So a 10-minute walk in, or five minutes on the orange circulator, beats a 20- or 40-minute bus ride in, plus public transportation on the weekend is not extremely reliable.”

Another perk? “I still get to avoid purchasing a car,” Edwards said.

Both UMB employees praised the program, its community partners, and its facilitators, including Kordish and Daibeth Saunders, development officer for the city of Baltimore.

“The process was amazingly easy,” Douglas said. “Emily here on campus, Daibeth with the city, my real estate agent, and my mortgage agent all worked together to get me into the house.”

“I would like to thank Emily Kordish and Daibeth Saunders for making this a seamless process,” Edwards said. “I also thank UMB leadership for facilitating this process and making my first home a reality.”

— Lou Cortina

Lou CortinaFor B'more, People, UMB News, University Administration, University LifeMay 15, 20181 comment
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The President’s Message

Check out the May issue of The President’s Message.

It includes the following:

  • Dr. Perman’s column on a new home for our Community Engagement Center
  • A recap of IPE Day
  • A look ahead to commencement
  • Dr. Robert Redfield’s appointment as CDC director
  • A Women’s History Month celebration of Dr. Angela Brodie
  • Shock Trauma’s Stop the Bleed program
  • A roundup of student, faculty, and staff achievements
Chris ZangABAE, Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Education, For B'more, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University Administration, University Life, USGAMay 10, 20180 comments
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Ehrlich, Glendening Discuss Federal-State Relations, Political Divisions

Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., JD, and Parris N. Glendening, PhD, MA, come from different sides of the political aisle and hold opposing views on many issues. But both share the title of former Maryland governor, and they agree on what’s causing the breakdown in cooperation between federal and state governments: hyper-partisanship and a Congress that is broken.

“There has been a dramatic change in what is permissible and encouraged with partisan bitterness,” said Glendening, who joined Ehrlich on May 1 at the University of Maryland, Baltimore in the sixth installment of the UMB President’s Panel on Politics and Policy.

Glendening added, “You combine that with no one consulting in the intergovernmental area, and I’ll sum it up with a rather dark statement, which comes from a recent book about journalism: ‘The absence of an intergovernmental system, which would facilitate consultation, coordination, and compromise, combined with the extraordinary negatives of current political debate, is bad public policy, bad for our politics, and bad for our country.’”

Ehrlich agreed that the system is dysfunctional because of all the hostility between the political parties, but he added, “This is not new. When people fight over power, this is a byproduct. It’s just the vitriol has crossed a line lately.”

The two ex-governors – Republican Ehrlich succeeded Democrat Glendening in 2003 after the latter had served two terms – also talked about marijuana legalization, gerrymandering district boundaries, and federal-state cooperation in Maryland at the panel, which was moderated by veteran broadcast journalist Bruce DePuyt, senior reporter for the Maryland Matters website. The panel series was launched by UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, in January 2017 to examine issues important to the University community that are likely to be affected by the Trump administration and Congress.

Perman introduced Ehrlich and Glendening to the crowd of nearly 200 UMB staff, faculty, and students at the SMC Campus Center, saying, “There are no two better guests to discuss the role of federal actors in state policy than the two we have with us today.” With that, the ex-governors talked about their relationship – “We can differ on policy and still be civil and still be friends,” Glendening said — before enlightening the crowd with their political and policy insights.

Glendening, who is now the president of Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute and the Governors’ Institute on Community Design, opened by saying the name of the event, “The Intersection of Federal Policy and State Priorities,” should be changed to “The Decline of an Intergovernmental System and the Emergence of Extreme Personal Politics – A Bad Mix.” He traced the roots of federal and state governments working together to the 1930s, adding that by the 1970s most federal agencies and states had created offices to foster cooperation.

“Think about the last year, think about the changes in immigration laws and the new tax law, they were totally devoid of any intergovernmental discussions or any real bipartisan talks,” he said. “They’re looking at a new infrastructure program, but there is no input from state and local government. And there is chaos in the enforcement of marijuana laws” between states that allow medicinal or recreational use and federal law that forbids it.

Glendening favors allowing marijuana use for either purpose, whereas Ehrlich is in favor of medicinal use only.

“None of us takes the issue of yet another way to get high lightly. If we do that, we do it to our own detriment,” said Ehrlich, who is now senior counsel in the Government Advocacy and Public Policy practice group at King & Spalding LLP in Washington, D.C. “With regard to end-of-life situations, with regard to terminal pain situations, I’m for all of the above.”

Glendening compared the reform in marijuana laws, with 29 states having various degrees of legalization, to recent changes in gay rights, gay marriage, and immigration (states and cities creating so-called sanctuary cities), as being indicative of local governments serving as “laboratories of democracy.”

“I see it as good policy change coming from the states from the bottom up,” he said. “I’ll make this guarantee: The federal government will move to the same broad interpretations on marijuana – against illegal, organized distribution but permitting individual use under a regulatory system.”

‘Safe Seats’ Dangerous to Democracy

Switching back to politics, the practice of gerrymandering – manipulating the boundaries of voting districts to favor one party – came in for particular scrutiny, because the redrawing of congressional lines has created “safe seat” districts where incumbents face no real challenge from the opposing party.

“This is why there’s all this interest in primaries as opposed to general elections,” said Ehrlich, who served four terms in Congress before becoming Maryland’s first Republican governor in 36 years. “Because when you have a safe seat, your fight is generally going to be in a primary from further right or further left, not from the other party. And when you have lots of safe seats, which you have in the House of Representatives today, you generally have a lack of incentive to sit down and try to negotiate.”

Glendening, who served three terms as Prince George’s County executive and was a university professor at College Park for 27 years, agreed that redistricting has exacerbated partisanship, noting that Maryland’s delegation in the House has gone from a 4-4 split in the 1990s to 7-1 in favor of the Democrats.

“With computers and everything else, you are able to draw a line — literally go down the street, turn on this corner, turn here, and you look at voting patterns and you can go out in two hours and draw a district that is to your liking,” he said. “So now you are in a district that is extreme. There’s no center to that district. And you can do and say anything you want, as long as you keep that base happy. And it’s the Democrats and the Republicans doing this.”

‘Team Maryland’ Works Together

Democrat and Republican politicians in Maryland, however, have a great history of state-federal cooperation, both men said, suggesting that this should be a model for cooperation in Congress. Ehrlich pointed to two Maryland political legends – Barbara Mikulski in the Senate and Helen Delich Bentley in the House – as being particular supportive during his term.

“They both made it very clear that this is Team Maryland, and we need to work together,” Ehrlich said. “So egos, philosophical differences, and party were put aside. This is your uniform, and it’s yellow and black.”

Glendening said Maryland’s tradition of bipartisanship in this regard is because it’s a smaller state where many federal employees reside and relies on many aspects of federal expenditures.

“When I was governor, there were four Democrats and four Republicans in the House delegation, and you wouldn’t have known that if you were sitting in those meetings,” he said. “And that preceded weeks of meetings with staff to start to work out the details. It was a good system, and it still functions. The problem is, Congress is not functioning as well.”

When asked by an audience member if there was any hope that the acrimony between the major political parties would ease, Ehrlich answered succinctly: “No.”

But he expounded, saying, “In D.C. today, both parties do not respect rules. It’s dysfunctional. This is a structural problem, and it’s a serious problem.”

But Glendening, saying he was an eternal optimist, offered hope.

“Our country has faced challenges like this in the past. And just as we have prevailed and we have changed, I believe we can do so now,” he said. “I’m reminded somewhat of the biblical observation: This too shall pass. And that gives me the strength to keep going.”

— Lou Cortina

Read more about the UMB President’s Panel on Politics and Policy.

Lou CortinaResearch, UMB News, University Administration, University LifeMay 2, 20180 comments
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Former Governors Ehrlich, Glendening Highlight President’s Panel on May 1

Former Maryland governors Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., JD, and Parris N. Glendening, PhD, MA, will join UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, for the next President’s Panel on Politics and Policy on May 1 at the SMC Campus Center. The event starts at 8 a.m. with breakfast, followed by the panel discussion from 8:30 to 10 a.m. (Register to attend.)

The panel, titled “The Intersection of Federal Policy and State Priorities,” will be moderated by veteran broadcast journalist Bruce DePuyt, senior reporter for the Maryland Matters website and host of The Bruce DePuyt Show podcast.

The President’s Panel on Politics and Policy was launched after the 2016 presidential election to examine issues important to the UMB community that are likely to be affected by the Trump administration and Congress.

Ehrlich, who served as Maryland governor from 2003 to 2007, is senior counsel in the Government Advocacy and Public Policy practice group at King & Spalding LLP in Washington, D.C. Having served as a governor, U.S. congressman, state legislator, and civil litigator, he counsels clients on government matters, with particular expertise in health care, finance, and economic development. Read more about Ehrlich.

Glendening, who served as Maryland governor from 1995 to 2003, is president of Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute and the Governors’ Institute on Community Design. In these roles, he speaks across the country and around the world about smart growth, sustainability, global climate change, land conservation, transit-oriented development, and equity. He regularly speaks to environmental advocacy groups, business leaders, and professional organizations. Read more about Glendening.

Here are the event details:

  • When: Tuesday, May 1
  • Where: SMC Campus Center, Elm Ballrooms
  • Breakfast: 8 to 8:30 a.m.
  • Panel discussion: 8:30 to 10 a.m.
  • Registration: Visit this link.

Read more about the President’s Panel on Politics and Policy and previous panels.

Lou CortinaBulletin Board, Education, People, UMB News, University Administration, University LifeApril 27, 20180 comments
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UMB Employee Lawson is First to Buy House in Improved Live Near Your Work Program

Living in an apartment in Charles Village, near the Johns Hopkins University campus where she went to college, Shea Lawson had to take four buses and sometimes more than an hour to get to and from her job as a research project coordinator at the Brain and Tissue Bank at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

She wasn’t crazy about the commute or, as she put it, “putting money down the rent drain.” Last fall, she was thinking about buying a house but wasn’t sure she could swing it financially, so she started thinking about shopping for a condo instead.

But when an email touting the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) improved Live Near Your Work (LNYW) Program landed in her inbox in early November, her outlook on buying a house brightened. She sprang into action, eager to take advantage of the grant that provides University employees up to $18,500 toward the purchase of a home in seven targeted Southwest Baltimore neighborhoods — Barre Circle, Franklin Square, Hollins Market, Mount Clare, Pigtown/Washington Village, Poppleton, and Union Square.

“I jumped on it pretty quick,” Lawson said of the program, which officially launched Jan. 9. “When I saw the advertisement [in November], I went on the Zillow real estate website, looking at houses in these neighborhoods. I was mostly looking at Pigtown, Barre Circle, and Hollins Market, because I was more familiar with those areas.”

Taking Ownership

She soon contacted a realtor and toured about 10 houses between late November and mid-January, all while working with a mortgage company to set up the financing for a potential purchase. She completed the program’s required homebuying counseling sessions with UMB’s LNYW partner, GO Northwest Housing Resource Center, attended the employee kickoff event at the SMC Campus Center on Jan. 11, and was among the first to apply when applications opened Jan. 29.

Today, Lawson is the proud owner of a rowhouse in Pigtown, the first grant recipient in the improved LNYW Program, which offers $16,000 from UMB and $2,500 from the city of Baltimore, a dramatic increase from the program’s former $5,000 incentive. The University has committed $1.5 million to the initiative, with hopes that 90-plus employees will take advantage of this financial benefit. Lawson says the program was a perfect fit, opening the door to homeownership and fulfilling her desire to stay at UMB long term.

“I really didn’t have enough for a down payment on a house. I would’ve had to canvass some relatives for a loan,” said Lawson, who has been working at UMB since May 2017. “This allows me to be financially independent. And being near my work was appealing, especially after I decided I wanted to stay at UMB for a while. If it weren’t for this program, I probably would’ve ended up in another rental situation.

“I actually had been trying to get my financials in order to possibly look at condos. I thought that might be the next step for me. A house seemed like a much bigger investment than I initially thought I was ready for. But seeing the Live Near Your Work Program advertised and looking into that, it all of a sudden became feasible.”

Emily Kordish, Human Resource Services benefits manager and the LNYW coordinator, said of Lawson: “Shea was extremely pro-active and resourceful. She really utilized our resources and website and got everything together on her own to get this done. It was a very seamless and positive process working with her.”

Home Sweet Home

Lawson, a city native who went to high school at the Baltimore School for the Arts before earning a bachelor’s degree in history at Johns Hopkins, is thrilled with her purchase, a rowhouse that was built in 1900 and had been refurbished in the past year.

“I didn’t have a specific type of house in mind when I started looking,” she said. “I just looked at everything in my price range and any place that had decent parking options. The house I found has a spacious, open floor plan that still manages to feel cozy and inviting, with solid workmanship on all of the interior features. All of the inside was redone. Half of the basement is finished. And they put a parking pad in the back.”

As for the neighborhood, Lawson says she liked “the close-knit and friendly vibe of the street and block,” and adds that her proximity to M&T Bank Stadium and other downtown attractions was a plus.

“I can see the stadium lit up at night from my back bedroom window, which is a fantastic view for a lifelong Ravens fan like me,” she said. “It will be convenient to my new digs in Pigtown without being overwhelmingly intrusive. It’s the best of both worlds!”

Lawson was extremely pro-active in pursuing the grant, but she also praised Kordish and the program’s partner organizations for helping make her homebuying experience a success.

“It’s been very smooth. The program is run very well,” Lawson said. “Everyone I’ve encountered who’s a part of it — Emily Kordish, Live Baltimore, GO Northwest — they’re very much enthusiastic about it and want to get you the information you need. Also, the Live Near Your Work website has a lot of good information and is really well done.

“I got a lot of help from a lot of good people in the program and from my realtor and my lender — everyone made it easy for me to communicate with them. The Live Near Your Work Program, you can tell they are passionate about this, they want it to work. It’s not just the money UMB has put up, it’s that they’re engaged.”

— Lou Cortina

Housing Fair on March 25

The Southwest Partnership is holding housing fair Sunday, March 25, that is open to the public and will feature UMB’s Live Near Your Work Program. The fair runs from 11:30 a.m to 4 p.m. Click here to register.

More LNYW Information

To learn more about the LNYW Program, click here.

To read more about the program’s launch, click here and here.

Lou CortinaFor B'more, People, UMB News, University Administration, University LifeMarch 16, 20180 comments
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Four Nursing Students Awarded Grants to Participate in Global Health Projects

Four University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) students have been awarded grants to participate in the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) Center for Global Education Initiatives (CGEI) grant program, which supports students traveling abroad this summer to participate in global health initiative projects.

Clinical Nurse Leader master’s student Elyse DeLaittre; Bachelor of Science in Nursing students Julie Factor and Sarah Litts; and PhD student Amy Nelson received grants to participate in various projects. CGEI is also providing guidance to the students regarding travel planning, cultural preparation, funding resources, and safety and security.

“We are very excited for Amy, Sarah, Elyse, and Julie. Traveling to another country to address critical global health challenges forces our students to shift their cultural stances and opens their eyes to other ways of providing health care,” said Yolanda Ogbolu, PhD ’11, MS ’05, BSN ’04, CRNP-Neonatal, assistant professor and director, UMSON Office of Global Health. “Global health service-learning experiences are important pathways for bi-directional learning and are often transformational experiences.”

Nelson and Litts will travel to Costa Rica with four other UMB students and three faculty members from the University of Maryland Carey School of Law to participate in the project titled, “A comparative analysis of emerging infectious disease outbreak preparedness and response in Costa Rica and the U.S.” The team will examine how the United States and Costa Rica governments responded to the 2016 Zika outbreak from clinical, pharmaceutical, health care, and community perspectives; compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of the two different approaches; and assist in conceptualizing how to implement in the United States successful practices used abroad, while overcoming potential barriers. Additionally, students will learn how to engage the community during infectious disease outbreaks.

DeLaittre, three other UMB students, and two faculty members from the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) will travel to Gambia to participate in the project titled, “Health system strengthening in The Gambia: A continuation of prior work.” This project will build upon the foundational work laid in previous UMB visits in 2014 and 2016, with the aim of providing  Gambian health leaders with the knowledge and resources to fortify the country’s health system. Previously, UMB has served as a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Occupational Health in support of WHO’s Global Plan of Action on Worker’s Health. The team will provide technical expertise and content knowledge focused on the health care environment to assist low- to middle-income countries in implementing practices to ensure basic worker protections. Additionally, the group will work to prioritize and implement health care worker protections as one pillar of health system strengthening and sustainability.

Factor, two other UMB students, and a UMSOM faculty member will go to Rwanda to participate in the project titled, “First assessment of injection drug use practices and associated HIV risks in Kigali, Rwanda.” Students will partner with a team of Rwandan medical and nursing students to develop a survey to implement a pilot study at a clinical site in Kigali. The team will seek to ascertain the prevalence and associated behaviors for injection drug use in addition to processing data and presenting the results at an international infectious disease conference.

UMSON’s Office of Global Health predominantly focuses on nursing students, while CGEI is a Universitywide academic resource center for UMB faculty and students who are interested in global education opportunities. CGEI promotes and supports interprofessional global education, identifies global themes that can be contextualized locally, and facilitates academic work related to global education.

“The summer grants program spearheaded by the Center for Global Education Initiatives provides an extraordinary opportunity for our nursing students to join other UMB students and faculty in interprofessional learning opportunities within a global context,” said UMSON Dean Jane Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Our students will participate in what will undoubtedly be an incredible learning and service experience that reflects our commitment to interprofessional education and to diversity and inclusion.”

Kevin NashBulletin Board, Collaboration, Community Service, Education, For B'more, People, University Administration, USGAFebruary 22, 20180 comments
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School of Nursing’s Moulton Awarded Nurse Educator Doctoral Grant

Michelle Moulton, MS ’09, RN, PCCN-K, CHSE, clinical instructor, has been awarded a $20,000 Nurse Educator Doctoral Grant (NEDG) for Practice and Dissertation Research.

This competitive grant program is designed to assist PhD and Doctor of Nursing Practice candidates by helping to cover costs associated with graduate education expenses; professional development; course release time; research-related administrative support; and project-related expenses for supplies, travel, and document creation. Its goals are to increase the number of doctorally prepared nursing faculty in Maryland, strengthen faculty development for optimal capacity at schools of nursing, and recruit and retain a diverse nursing faculty.

“The Maryland Higher Education Commission and the Nurse Support Program II funding has been a wonderful resource to facilitate the achievement of my academic goals. I am honored and grateful to have received the Nursing Education Doctoral Grant,” Moulton said. “Primarily, the award will assist in relieving student loan debt and, in addition, will provide funding to support the completion of my Doctor of Nursing Practice project.”

NEDG is part of the Nurse Support Program II, a statewide initiative funded by the Health Services Cost Review Commission and administered by the Maryland Higher Education Commission. It helps increase Maryland’s nursing capacity by supporting initiatives that advance the recommendations outlined in the Institute of Medicine’s report “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.”

“We are extremely grateful for this important support to faculty pursuing doctoral degrees. The NEDG program responds to the critical need to increase the number of faculty with advanced degrees and to ensure a highly educated nursing workforce for the future,” said UMSON Dean Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN. “We congratulate Ms. Moulton on her award and look forward to her ongoing contributions to teaching and research at UMSON, in particular through her work in the areas of clinical simulation and interprofessional education and practice.”

Kevin Nash Bulletin Board, Education, People, UMB News, University Administration, USGAJanuary 31, 20180 comments
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‘Live Near Your Work’ Benefits Touted as Improved Program Kicks Off

Bill Joyner, MSW ’14, coordinator in UMB’s Office of Community Engagement, knows a thing or two about living and working in Baltimore, so he’s a compelling advocate for the University’s improved Live Near Your Work (LNYW) Program.

Joyner, speaking as a panelist at the LNYW Program’s employee kickoff event Jan. 11 at the SMC Campus Center, extolled the virtues of owning a home in a neighborhood adjacent to campus, describing the commuting, community, and financial benefits he has experienced as a resident of first Hollins Market and now Union Square.

“I’ve been in the area a long time, and I highly recommend living there,” Joyner told a crowd of 60-plus UMB employees. “Your commute is minimized if not eliminated. I can be home in 10 minutes walking, and I don’t have to pay for monthly parking on campus. I also pay much less in housing now that I pay a mortgage instead of rent.

“There’s also something special about living on this side of MLK Boulevard near campus. You don’t just live close to work, you live in a real community where your neighbors actually know your name and you know their name. You get to know the people who own the businesses to and from work, and you stop in and say hello. And the time you had spent commuting, you get that back, and can spend it how you want, which is really important for work-life balance.”

Joining Joyner on the panel were Emily Kordish, benefits manager and LNYW Program coordinator, and representatives of three key community partners: Liz Koontz, employee outreach manager for Live Baltimore; Michael Seipp, executive director of the Southwest Partnership; and Matthew Gregory, program manager for GO Northwest Housing Center.

Before the panel took questions, UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, delivered opening remarks and Dawn M. Rhodes, MBA, chief business and finance officer and vice president, gave an overview of the revamped program, which they both see as a great opportunity for the University to help revitalize and stabilize Southwest Baltimore.

The program offers up to $18,500 in grants ($16,000 from UMB and $2,500 from the city of Baltimore) toward the purchase of a home in seven nearby neighborhoods: Barre Circle, Franklin Square, Hollins Market, Mount Clare, Pigtown/Washington Village, Poppleton, and Union Square. To qualify for the LNYW Program, one must be a regular full- or part-time (50 percent FTE or more) faculty or staff member who is in good standing, complete a homebuying counseling program, demonstrate creditworthiness, and contribute a minimum of $1,000 to the down payment.

Perman said he expects the University’s financial commitment will “change the game” compared with the former LNYW program’s $5,000 grant, which consisted of $2,500 apiece from UMB and the city.

“We’ve dramatically increased that number to $16,000,” Perman said. “I hope that these grants will help many of our employees who are first-time homebuyers and I hope it will make a difference in the community. It is a vibrant, shared community where there are multiple stakeholders. My dream would be to see many of you walking to and from work and to see you out at local restaurants and local shops.”

Perman introduced Rhodes, who walked the crowd through PowerPoint slides that detailed the program’s parameters and partnerships. She said the University’s initial $1.5 million commitment is expected to help 93 employees buy homes.

Rhodes said a requirement that an employee live in the house for at least five years was added to help fulfill the goal of community stabilization – “We don’t want employees flipping these homes; we want them living there,” Perman said — and she added that the onus was on employees to make sure their application is complete before submitting it to the city, which will disburse the grant funds.

Having said that, Rhodes explained that there will be many hands helping applicants navigate the road to homeownership.

“Do not at any point get overwhelmed,” she told the employees. “We have intentionally created partnerships with people who can provide you with answers to any question you have. This is an intricate process, but we’ve got the experts to help you get through it. We would not be here today without the collaboration of our community partners. These people are just as excited as we are about this program, because we’ve been working on this together for the last seven months.”

The panel fielded questions after Rhodes’ presentation, with Kordish describing UMB educational efforts such as Launch Your Life financial planning classes and the community partners discussing events they will be hosting in the coming months to support the LNYW Program.

Live Baltimore will host a trolley tour Jan. 27 that starts at the SMC Campus Center. The narrated tour (free to UMB employees) will take participants around local neighborhoods, including the ones that qualify for the LNYW Program, and features a lottery for an additional $5,000 incentive that can be stacked onto the UMB grant. “We’re really committed to the Southwest Baltimore neighborhoods,” Koontz said.

The Southwest Partnership, which organizes and promotes community-building and revitalization efforts, has scheduled a housing fair for March 24 at the UM BioPark. “We are going to bring together developers who are renovating houses, realtors, and brokers, and you will be able to walk through the door and basically be in the Macy’s of house shopping,” Seipp said. “You’ll be able to see between 50 and 70 houses — some already completed and others that are just shells.”

GO Northwest will host homebuying workshops at the SMC Campus Center on two upcoming Saturdays — Jan. 20 and Feb. 3. Completing the workshop is the first of a two-step process toward earning the homeownership counseling certificate required for program eligibility. The second step is a private homeownership counseling session, which you can sign up for during the workshop.

Ying Zou, PhD, associate professor and director of the Clinical Cytogenetics Lab at the School of Medicine, was gathering information at the kickoff event. She says she lives in Ellicott City, would like to cut down on her commute, and is intrigued by Hollins Market in particular.

“I always wanted to live close to my workplace to avoid traffic,” she said. “One of my best friends lives in Hollins Market. Sometimes we go there for pizza, sometimes we go to the market, sometimes they have art shows in the streets. It’s interesting, and there are a lot of activities in Southwest Baltimore.”

Jimmy Mszanski, MBA, assistant director at URecFit, also was soaking up the LNYW information, saying he was drawn by the idea of owning a home instead of renting and cutting down on his commute from Woodlawn.

“Living just outside of the city, there is traffic and things like that I don’t particularly like,” he said. “But living near work and living within the city, there are more things to do within walking distance, and that’s something that attracts me.”

— Lou Cortina

Learn more about the LNYW Program at its website, which includes application instructions, neighborhood testimonials, and more, and get a list of upcoming events here.

Click here for more coverage of the LNYW launch, and click here to watch a video of the Jan. 11 event.

Lou CortinaCollaboration, Community Service, Global & Community Engagement, People, UMB News, University Administration, University LifeJanuary 16, 20180 comments
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Improved Live Near Your Work Program Offers up to $18,500 Grant

The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) is launching its improved Live Near Your Work (LNYW) Program, which offers homebuying assistance to UMB employees while showing the University’s commitment to the community, with an informational kickoff event Thursday, Jan. 11, at 3 p.m. at the SMC Campus Center, Elm Ballroom A.

The LNYW Program is designed to open the door to homeownership and stabilize and revitalize targeted Southwest Baltimore neighborhoods, offering eligible UMB faculty and staff $16,000 in grants to use toward the down payment and closing costs for the purchase of homes in Barre Circle, Franklin Square, Hollins Market, Mount Clare, Pigtown/Washington Village, Poppleton, and Union Square. In addition, participants may be eligible to receive a matching grant of up to $2,500 from the city of Baltimore, and they may qualify for additional grants from programs outside of the University.

Purchasing a home in a qualifying neighborhood allows UMB employees to become involved in active and ever-growing communities; shorten lengthy commutes to work; live within walking distance of restaurants, stores, stadiums, and cultural centers; and choose from a variety of housing types, ranging from historic rowhouses to newly constructed condos.

To qualify, you must be a regular full- or part-time (50 percent FTE or more) faculty or staff employee who is in good standing, complete a homebuying counseling program, demonstrate creditworthiness, and contribute a minimum of $1,000 to the down payment.

You can find application instructions, program parameters, employee testimonials, neighborhood information, and more at the Live Near Your Work website. Applications open Jan. 29. Here is a list of upcoming events.

Program Kickoff

Thursday, Jan. 11, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., SMC Campus Center, Elm Ballroom A

This forum will provide an overview of the program’s parameters and qualification requirements and offer information about homebuying incentives from a panel of UMB officials and community partner organizations. Featured speakers include UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, and Chief Business and Finance Officer and Vice President Dawn M. Rhodes, MBA.

The panelists include Emily Kordish, LNYW Program coordinator, UMB Human Resource Services; Matthew Gregory, GO Northwest Housing Resource Center; Liz Koontz, Live Baltimore; and Michael Seipp, Southwest Partnership. In addition, information tables will be set up for more one-on-one discussion with Human Resources staff and community partner representatives. The kickoff event will feature light refreshments. To register for the event, click here.

Homebuying Workshops

Saturday, Jan. 20, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. SMC Campus Center, Room 351

Saturday, Feb. 3, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., SMC Campus Center, Room 351

Completing a homebuying workshop is the first of a two-step process toward earning a homeownership counseling certificate, which is required to qualify for the LNYW grants. The second step requires a private homeownership counseling session, which you can sign up for during this workshop, hosted by GO Northwest Housing Resource Center. Learn more about the counseling here.  Register for one of these homebuying sessions here. Employees only need to attend one session.

Live Baltimore Trolley Tour

Saturday, Jan. 27, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Starting at the SMC Campus Center and hosted by Live Baltimore, this narrated bus tour will take participants around local neighborhoods, including the ones that qualify for the LNYW Program. UMB employees can get a free ticket to this tour by registering and using the promo code umb1807. You can register for the tour here.

By attending the tour, you will have a chance to become eligible for a $5,000 grant toward the purchase of a home in the city through Live Baltimore’s Buying Into Baltimore incentive. Learn more about this incentive here and read a list of frequently asked questions.

Live Baltimore Education Sessions

TBA

Starting in March, Live Baltimore will be providing on-campus education sessions about homebuying incentives, living in the city of Baltimore, and more. Included in the schedule will be opportunities to meet one-on-one with Live Baltimore staff in an effort to customize the available homeownership programs to the buyer’s needs. Group sessions will offer a high-level overview of the homeownership programs and incentives available through the city of Baltimore and the state of Maryland. A schedule and more information on these sessions will be available in the coming weeks.

Applications Open

Jan. 29

Go to the LNYW website for application instructions.

— Lou Cortina

 

 

Lou CortinaGlobal & Community Engagement, UMB News, University AdministrationJanuary 9, 20180 comments
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syringe with vial

Student and Employee Health – Summer Shots

Students who need summer shots (such as Tdap, Hepatitis B, MMR, Chickenpox vaccines, and the TB skin test), are encouraged to stop by the Health Center in the month of July, during the adjusted schedule. After July 31, the schedule will return to normal. No appointment needed – walk-ins only. Please bring your insurance identification card.

July Shots Schedule

Monday – 9 to 10 a.m.
Tuesday – Noon to 1 p.m.
Wednesday – Noon to 1 p.m.
Thursday – 3 to 4 p.m. (no TB skin tests on this day)
Friday – Noon to 1 p.m.

For questions, call 667-214-1883. For more information about available services, visit the Student Health Office.

Dana Rampolla Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Community Service, People, University Administration, University LifeJuly 18, 20170 comments
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