MD CoCs: Community Services Connection Newsletter - March

This is a monthly newsletter sent by the Office of Community Services Programs at the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. Each month, we will strive to bring you highlights of programs and initiatives that impact our grantees, as well as share news articles and important information relevant to your programs, services, and clients. Please send news, events, success stories, and best practices to:


The Office of Community Services Programs is part of the Division of Neighborhood Revitalization within the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. The Office administers federal and state programs aimed at reducing homelessness and poverty across the state. The Office is divided into the Homelessness Solutions Team which administers the state's Homelessness Solutions Program; and the Poverty Solutions Team which administers the Community Services Block Grant program and the Maryland Housing Counseling Fund.


The Homelessness Solutions Program is hiring!

As of January 27th, 2020, HUD SNAPS office has officially recognized a new Maryland Balance of State CoC representing a merger of five Maryland CoCs and seven counties: Allegany, Cecil, Garrett, Washington County and Southern Maryland (Calvert, St. Mary's and Charles County). The Balance of State CoC will be managed by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), and represents an opportunity to further streamline the administration of homeless services in communities across the state.

DHCD has posted a recruitment for Balance of State/Continuum of Care Lead
in the Division of Neighborhood Revitalization (NR). The deadline for applications is Thursday, March 5, 2020. Please pass this on to your networks and anyone you feel may be interested.

Racial Disparities in the State of Maryland 

While representing 30% of the general state population, African-Americans make up about 60% of the population experiencing homelessness. Due to this disparity and others, the homelessness solutions team is exploring the varying outcomes, experiences, and services utilization of clients across all racial groups. Providers are encouraged to reach out to Race Equity Fellow, Jalen Lee ( if interested in learning more.

Health and Hygiene Practices Essential to Preventing the Spread of Viruses 

People who are homeless and housing insecure are at greater risk for contracting contagious diseases due to a variety of factors, including living in overcrowded conditions, reduced access to bathrooms and sanitation supplies, disparate access to health care and suppressed immune systems related to stress and other medical conditions.  With novel Coronavirus in the news, despite only a small number of cases in the U.S. and none in Maryland, it is a good time to review the general precautions that can help prevent transmission of airborne contagious illnesses and the importance of following good health and hygiene policies and procedures within organizations serving vulnerable populations who may be at greater risk from viruses.  For a review of best practices in preventing the spread of contagious viruses, we encourage providers to consult the recently released HUD Infectious Disease Toolkit for CoCs for recommendations. 


CSBG Annual Report

On February 19, the Office of Community Services (OCS) released DCL-2020-13 announcing an extension for submission of the FFY19 CSBG annual report. The new deadline is June 26, 2020. The letter also provides a timeline concerning finalization of FFY18 and FFY19 reports. 

Additionally, OCS released DCL-2020-14, which provides guidance on the following items related to Module 3 of the CSBG Annual Report. Please note that Agencies have the option to submit module 3 but are not required to do so. 
  1. Information about an additional Quality Assurance Year for Module 3;
  2. Operational definition of Community-Level Transformations in the Community Services Block Grant; and
  3. Phases of Community-Level Transformations and when to submit Module 3 of the CSBG Annual Report based on these phases.
Upcoming Webinars 

CSBG Discretionary Application Training Webinar
March 17, 2020, 11am-12pm
This webinar is for organizations that will be applying for CSBG Discretionary funds. We will provide information about the application process for the 2020 round. Register here.

MHCF Quarterly Webinar
March 24, 2020, 11am - 12pm
This webinar is for current MHCF grantees. In addition to program updates, we will have some important discussions about the HUD certification process and the 2020 Census. Register here.


Reimagining the Public and Private Safety Net

The Aspen Institute Financial Security Program is taking on the issue of "Reimagining the Public and Private Safety Net" and tackling important questions like: "When do public and private benefits work together in a complementary way that helps Americans achieve financial security? When do those same benefits conflict and confound people's financial lives? Who is considering the full network of benefits that are accessible to U.S. workers?  Where can we find solutions and improvements that are effective, equitable, efficient, and scalable?" This article is a call for experts with lived experience, as well as, those with professional experience to join the conversation.

HIV Planning Group Media Campaign

The Maryland Department of Health's Infectious Disease Prevention and Health Services Bureau has entered into a new four-year initiative with a media firm to re-purpose, resize, and amplify social marketing campaigns around six key topics. The contract starts in 2020 and ends in 2024. The topic areas include:
  • HIV awareness/stigma,
  • Maryland AIDS Drug Assistance Program (MADAP),
  • PrEP,
  • HIV testing,
  • STD awareness, and
  • HIV care adherence.
Because they know what speaks loudest to Marylanders are campaigns created by Marylanders with lived experience, they are prioritizing media campaigns created by local health departments and community partners. They will amplify your messages by sharing them with the rest of the state across media platforms, including social and static media, GPS-based networking apps, and radio.

If you would like the Community Review Panel of the HIV Planning Group/HPG to consider the media campaigns created by your jurisdiction, please submit them by going to our online form. They will reach out to you within a week after receiving the submission. If you have any qestions or requests, please contact Fernando Mena-Carrasco at 

Network Job Opportunities 

Arundel Community Development Services, Inc. (ACDS), a private nonprofit organization located in Annapolis, MD is seeking an experienced Housing Financial Advisor to work with limited income families and individuals residing in the County.  


New Research Links Financial Security and Stable Housing

In 2019, Aspen EPIC recognized rising housing costs and instability as critical threats to the financial security of American families and created a comprehensive research primer on the topic. Drawing on extensive review of the research literature, engagement with more than 100 experts, and analysis of federal survey data, they have prepared a research brief and primer,
"Strong Foundations: Financial Security starts with affordable, stable housing." 

Please email  if you would like us to include news or events related to your organization in our upcoming newsletter.