The following was written by Baltimore’s Department of Housing and Urban Development Field Office:
At the invitation of Field Office Director Carol B. Payne, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Deputy Secretary Maurice Jones visited the Baltimore Field Office on August 15, 2012 and excitement was palpable. Deputy Secretary Jones was escorted to HUD’s Baltimore offices on the 5th floor of the Crescent City Building and was greeted by Director Payne who brought him into her office for a brief meeting and an opportunity to decompress. Present was also Region III Administrator and Mr. Jones’ advance person, Julie Schneider. Director Payne was able to talk with the Deputy Secretary regarding Multifamily properties in Baltimore answering his questions stemming from the briefing materials sent prior to his visit.
The agenda was filled to capacity with meetings and a tour of community venues. Mr. Jones first met with Debra Walker, President of Union Chapter 3122, to discuss issues relevant to union members in Baltimore. After that meeting, Mr. Jones joined the executive leadership in a session in which he was apprised of issues relative to program areas in the Baltimore Field Office from Public Housing, Multifamily Housing, Community Planning and Development and Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. As a preamble to the session, the Deputy outlined his priorities for his work at HUD from operational issues to the all important question of organizational values. While questions abounded both from an administrative perspective and a programmatic one, it was the questions that involved clients and employees as clients that provoked the most enthusiasm.
An all staff meeting was also held in which the Deputy Secretary outlined his vision for HUD and on what priorities he is focused. Although most of his stated goals were in the operational arena, he also spoke of tasks that were staff and human resource focused such as values for the organization. He also allowed time for Baltimore Field staff to query him on matters of concern to them. Mr. Jones was given a key to the office as a gesture of hospitality and esteem. The key was presented by Vonzell Cummings of the Fair Housing staff who issued the proclamation and key with much fanfare and verve. Director Payne presented the Deputy Secretary with a copy of Antiero Pietila’s Not in My Neighborhood, a history of fair housing and social justice issues relating to zoning and housing in Baltimore City.
Once the in-house meetings took place, Deputy Secretary Jones was escorted on a tour of properties made possible through HUD funding. Baltimore Field Office Community partners joined the tour at various integrals to meet the Deputy Secretary and also to demonstrate their programmatic expertise relative to the issues at the cited locations. A windshield tour of Memorial Gardens, an elderly complex, The Marlboro, former home of the impressionist collecting Cohn sisters and a subsidized property and Spicer’s Run, a homeownership project located on the Eutaw Street corridor were part of this phase of the tour. Debra McGhee, Fair Housing Director, provided van travelers with information about the Baltimore Analysis of Impediments. Included in the van were: Jane C.W. Vincent, Region III Administrator, Carol Payne, Field Office Director, Directors of the major divisions of HUD—Bill Tamburrino (PIH), Mary Ann Henderson (MFH), Charlie Halm (CPD), Debra McGhee (FHEO), Brenda Brown (MFH), Bob Iber (MFH), Yvette Jackson (MFH), Vonzell Cummings (FHEO) and J.C. Shay (FPM).
The next stop featured residents of Pedestal Gardens, a 200 unit apartment complex with approximately 300 children and 100 plus families. The Deputy Secretary was treated to life at Pedestal Gardens through the eyes of residents outlined by resident leader Zaire Boyd. Kelly Little, Executive Director of Druid Heights Community Development Corporation, led the tour of Bakersview, a housing development featuring homeownership for low income people. An eighty five year old resident of the historic Pennsylvania Avenue community gave an impassioned account of what it meant for her neighbors to finally have a home of their own.
All along the tour, commentary was provided by Director Payne, Charlie Halm on homeownership and NSP2 funding, Bill Tamburrino on Public Housing developments and on a HOPE VI project and Mary Ann Henderson on multifamily housing projects that were part of FHA financed development. The Deputy Secretary has agreed to return to Baltimore for a closer
look at Multifamily projects with priority of improving the support for families and nurturingand development of children.
For more information about this news, contact the Field Office:
Carol B. Payne, Field Office Director, 410-209-6587, firstname.lastname@example.org
J.C. Shay, Senior Management Analyst, 410-209-6587, email@example.com