On Tuesday, August 15th, BRHP hosted U.S. Senator for Maryland, Chris Van Hollen, in our office for a discussion on housing programs and the critical role BRHP plays in the housing mobility community. Senator Van Hollen is a long-time champion of housing mobility approaches and expanding and protecting affordable housing. 

Senator Van Hollen discussed his work on the HUD Community Choice Demonstration (originally called the Housing Mobility Demonstration Act) and his current work on the Family Stability and Opportunity Vouchers Act, which would create 250, 000 new housing mobility vouchers to help families move to areas with greater opportunity. The bipartisan bill is aimed at improving the lives of families with young children and would increase access to mobility vouchers while providing counseling services, similar to BRHP’s proven method of combining client counseling with housing mobility vouchers. Senator Van Hollen also talked about the importance of having bipartisan support for housing mobility and housing funding.  

Members of BRHP’s Client Advisory Board (CAB) also shared their experiences with BRHP’s housing mobility program. Monica Braxton shared the positive impact of moving into an opportunity area for her and her family, discussing her pride and comfort in her new community. Mykki Scott shared how BRHP staff had assisted in navigating an unexpected move during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Zelda Tally shared the opportunities that BRHP’s program provided, and the ability to give her children access to education and other resources that would help her family build long-term, generational success.   

BRHP’s Managing Director of Operations and Program Evaluation, Pete Cimbolic, shared BRHP’s recent milestones, notably in achieving a full 98% voucher utilization rate, compared to an 88% average in Maryland and 85% nationwide. Pete emphasized the role of flexible funding in helping agencies achieve higher utilization rates, noting how BRHP flexible funding not only helps clients with security deposits and other financial barriers related to moving into a new community, but also helps BRHP gain and maintain a network of property partners to ensure a supply of quality homes for BRHP participants. The importance of flexible funding was further reinforced by a BRHP program participant who shared how BRHP helped her move despite a landlord wrongfully withholding her security deposit. To this end, Janet Abrahams, the CEO for the Housing Authority of Baltimore City, urged the Senator to lend his support to a recent Senate appropriations bill seeking an extension for flexible funding for public housing agencies.  Rounding out the conversation was one of BRHP’s property partners, Dana Johnson, CEO of Homes for America, who raised the need for continued support of financial vehicles that allow for the expansion of the affordable housing supply in the region. 

BRHP thanks Senator Van Hollen for his fierce advocacy for housing mobility initiatives and in creating opportunities for families in Maryland and across the country to thrive. 


Steven Chen, Communications Intern  

On April 20, 2023, the Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership had the honor of hosting Demetria L. McCain for our BRHP In Conversation series which aims to share and discuss ideas related to housing equity and justice with housing mobility groups, activists, policymakers, and tenants alike. Demetria is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). During the conversation, Deputy Assistant Secretary McCain discussed not only the roles and responsibilities of the HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, but also the importance of everyone’s voice in ensuring all comply with fair housing laws.  

April 2023 marks 55 years since the signing of the Fair Housing Act on April 11, 1968, and while progress has been made, there is still much to do to further equitable housing.   

One key takeaway from the discussion was the importance of addressing intersectional discrimination. Deputy Assistant Secretary McCain described how discrimination has traditionally been framed in a list of set categories, such as race, gender identity, or national origin, for example, but that it is important to recognize that these categories may not always translate directly to cases of discrimination experienced in the real world. Discrimination may target a combination of factors within these categories, and often takes less-obvious forms, such as lack of training to accommodate disability in both private and public institutions. She also mentioned the restoration of HUD’s “Discriminatory Effects” rule, which aims to combat systemic inequalities and discrimination regardless of whether these inequalities were the products of discriminatory intent. McCain also mentioned that April was Second Chance Month, an effort to raise awareness about specific challenges facing those who were formerly incarcerated.  

The conversation also touched on the importance of legislature, both in promoting public interest relief and in stimulating further action. While the FHEO does assist with individual interest relief, Deputy Assistant Secretary McCain underscored the importance of public interest relief in the form of policy that would protect and reinforce fair and equitable housing practices. Recent Presidential memos and even Executive Orders, notably the Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, have made important inroads towards promoting housing equity and antidiscrimination practices on a federal level. Still, there is more work to be done to create a fairer system.  

Deputy Assistant Secretary McCain echoed the importance of public action, which forms an important part of the fight for equitable housing. In conjunction with legislation and programs promoting equitable housing, we can also play an important role as individuals in promoting and refining fair housing programs across the United States. Public involvement comes in many forms, ranging from discussion of fair housing issues with family and friends, to feedback for FHEO programs and providing public comments on proposed rules. Indeed, McCain mentioned the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking titled Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, which was in its public comment period at the time, and would implement the Fair Housing Act’s mandate to take proactive action towards fair housing and foster communities free from discrimination. Getting involved helps both improve proposed legislation and helps bring the issue of equitable housing – an issue that affects millions of Americans – into the public eye.  

For more detail into all this and more, we encourage you to check out the full recording at BRHP In Conversation With Demetria McCain 

You can visit HUD’s Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity website at  

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Baltimore, MD – A new study analyzing data from families in the Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership highlights the potential for housing mobility programs to help improve childhood asthma.

The Baltimore Regional Housing Partnerships’ housing mobility program provides rental assistance in the form of a Housing Choice Voucher and housing counseling that helps families overcome barriers to leasing quality housing in well-resourced neighborhoods. The study published online May 16, 2023, in the Journal of American Medical Association, is based on data from 123 children ages 5 to 17 who participated in the housing mobility program between 2016 and 2020.

The majority of children (47.2%) were female and 120 (97.6%) identify as Black. The median age was 8.4. On average, participants experienced substantial improvements and reduced the odds of having an asthma attack by more than 50 percent. The study was led by Craig Pollack, MD, a professor with joint
appointments at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing.

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that affects millions of children worldwide, causing wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. Children living in high-poverty neighborhoods have a greater risk of experiencing asthma symptoms due to exposure to environmental pollutants, mold, pests, and neighborhood-related stress.

The study highlights the importance of providing families with better housing opportunities. In addition to reducing asthma morbidity, the study found that moving from a high-poverty neighborhood helped decrease stress levels among parents/caregivers. Parents and caregivers participating in the study
reported feeling safer and more connected to their surroundings after the move. This study adds to the evidence that housing mobility programs improve more than just living conditions – they improve public health.

“The lower number of asthma attacks after families move reinforces that where people live matters for their health,” said lead author Pollack, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and School of Nursing professor. “Importantly, changes in stress and safety were a key factor in these asthma

Housing mobility programs were designed to address historic and contemporary housing discrimination that have resulted in racial and ethnic segregation, depleted segregated neighborhoods of opportunities to generate wealth, and contributed to unhealthy and stressful living conditions. The study’s findings underscore the value of interdisciplinary research in addressing complex social issues, such as housing and health disparities.

“For years we have heard anecdotally of the health improvements experienced by our clients after they move with the program, particularly around asthma”, said Pete Cimbolic, Managing Director at BRHP and co-author of the study. “The change in neighborhood context for these families has proven to have significant impacts on both the asthma of children, but also the stress of caregivers”. The results suggest that similar programs should be implemented nationwide to improve public health and create more equitable communities. BRHP is committed to improving the well-being of the most
vulnerable populations.

For more information about the study, please contact:
Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership Press Contact: TaKera Boston,, 667-207-2170


BRHP is dedicated to helping achieve racially and socially equitable public policy that ensures families with low income have access to quality and affordable homes in communities of their choice. As affordable housing advocates we prioritize policy that combats the persistence of income inequality, racial segregation, environmental inequalities, and poverty concentration. On June 22, 2022, BRHP joined the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Beyond the Boundaries Steering Committee and other fair housing organizations to express support for policy that will strengthen inclusionary housing in Baltimore City.

Baltimore’s most recent inclusionary housing law was enacted in 2007 as City Ordinance No. 07-474 and adopted under Inclusionary Housing Requirements Article 13, Subtitle 2B of the Housing and Urban Renewal Baltimore City Code. The bill had intentions to require residential developments to provide affordable units to promote economic diversity, poverty deconcentration and equitable neighborhoods. However, the law expired on June 30, 2022, and only produced 37 affordable housing units in 15 years, rendering it ineffective and merely decorative.

Councilwoman Odette Ramos of District 14 introduced Council Bill 22-0195, “Inclusionary Housing for Baltimore City,” to correct the deficiencies in the expired law and remove barriers to the production of inclusionary housing units. As supporters of this bill, BRHP collaborated with the councilwoman to amplify the importance of having an effective inclusionary housing bill in a city where racial inequalities and segregation continue to imbrue neighborhoods overtly and implicitly.

BRHP Executive Director Adria Crutchfield and BRHP Client Advisory Board member Monica Braxton joined Councilwoman Ramos and the inclusionary housing steering committee at a press conference in front of City Hall to urge city officials to pass Council Bill 22-0195. BRHP’s representatives shared the importance and impact of the Baltimore Housing Mobility Program in connecting families to affordable housing and made powerful remarks supporting the strengthened inclusionary housing bill.

According to the 2021 Out of Reach Report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, to afford a 2-bedroom home in Baltimore without paying more than 30% of your income on housing, the average renter must earn an annual income of over $55,000; that’s a wage of $26.62 an hour. However, the current minimum wage in Maryland is only $11.75. As underscored by Crutchfield, “the math ain’t mathin.”

In her remarks to the press, Crutchfield underlined the direct link between access to affordable housing and health outcomes, and the importance of utilizing housing policies, such as inclusionary housing law, to help low- and moderate-income families build wealth and achieve stability. Alongside Crutchfield, Braxton shared how access to affordable housing through the Baltimore Housing Mobility Program made a positive impact in her family’s life.

“It is important to provide more affordable housing options for our families and include us in these new developments,” said Braxton. “We are the heartbeat of this city and providing more options that can give our children a safe place to grow and thrive will only benefit this city for generations to come”.

BRHP was proud to unite with local affordable housing advocates to support policy that will impact generations to come in Baltimore. It is our hope that the impact will be one of progress for all Baltimoreans. As we push City Council for a bill hearing date, we urge the Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development and Mayor Brandon Scott to take swift and bold action to achieve a successful inclusionary housing policy that will help achieve long-term investments in affordable housing and reduce the longstanding disparities in the most vulnerable communities. With the help of city leadership and housing advocates, BRHP will continue to make incremental and strategic efforts to support inclusionary housing in Baltimore City.

Fiona Mesfun is a policy associate at the Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership


For Immediate Release: May 25, 2022

Contact: BRHP, 667-207-2100

Baltimore, MD – The Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership (BRHP) announced today that it is the recipient of a $3 million grant from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development to administer Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) funds to families assisted by the Baltimore Housing Mobility Program who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. BRHP assists over 4,300 families across six jurisdictions throughout the Baltimore region with housing, and the grant will centralize requests for emergency rental assistance.

ERAP funds provide direct financial assistance and housing stability services to renters who are struggling to make payments for their rent and utilities. Assistance can be used for rental arrears, utility and home energy cost arrears, and other expenses related to housing incurred due, directly or indirectly, to the COVID-19 outbreak after March 13, 2020. An application for assistance can be initiated by either a landlord or tenant.

While BRHP provides prospective rental assistance to its participants through the Housing Choice Voucher, the organization is aware of the increasing immediate need for rental assistance for participants who are behind on rent due to COVID-19-related financial hardship. The direct administration of emergency rental assistance by BRHP to program participants and property owners renting to participants will mitigate the risk of eviction and keep families stably housed.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development to simplify the process of getting emergency rental assistance into the hands of families who need it most,” said Adria Crutchfield, executive director of the Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership. “We are building on our existing infrastructure as a regional housing provider to reach families and property owners faster with less paperwork requirements. In doing so, we are reducing the case load of local jurisdictions also administering ERAP funds.”

On March 8, 2022, BRHP began accepting and reviewing applications for the emergency rental assistance from qualifying participants and property owners of the Baltimore Housing Mobility Program. The organization has received over 500 applications and completed review for nearly 60%. Now that the funding has been received, BRHP will issue payments to approved applicants on a rolling basis starting in June. BRHP is working with the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and local housing authorities to prevent duplication of assistance. 

For more background on the Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership:

For more background on the Maryland State Department of Housing and Community Development’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program:


On April 21, BRHP hosted law professor and author, Sheryll Cashin, to discuss her book White Space, Black Hood, and approach to addressing the legacy of redlining and hypersegregation across the country. We hosted this conversation in April during National Fair Housing Month to shift the narrative around poor Black neighborhoods and recommit ourselves to the movement for housing justice. As you may recall, BRHP hosted Dr. Lawrence Brown for a similar conversation in February 2021. As housing mobility leaders and fair housing advocates, we welcome the opportunity to continue the conversation and calls for action to address the injustices our communities face. Our conversation with Professor Cashin highlighted a frustrating history and pattern, but also encouraged us to think about solutions.

Professor Cashin’s call to action: abolition and repair of harmful systems. As a graduating political science student at Morgan State University, learning history is essential to dismantling oppressive policies and practices, and to creating new ones that drive progression and opportunity for all members of community. Professor Cashin kicked off the discussion with a presentation highlighting her more than two decades of research on the processes of residential caste with a particular focus on our home city of Baltimore. Professor Cashin broke down the ways racist policies have created and continue to create high poverty “Black hoods” and high opportunity white spaces. She also outlined steps to abolish the harm processes and repair communities.

Here are my takeaways from the conversation:

1. Progress has always been met with opposition

I learned that throughout history as subordinating Black institutions were removed, new subordinating Black institutions replaced them. Professor Cashin traced the institutions of slavery, Jim Crow, and the ghetto to explain her point. She argues that “hoods” have been created and maintained through policy actions, law, and stereotypes (ex. thugs, ghetto) to justify subordination of groups of people. States overinvest and exclude in affluent white spaces and disinvest, prey upon, and contain in high poverty Black spaces. Professor Cashin outlined three processes of residential caste – boundary maintenance (ex. exclusionary housing, urban renewal displacement), opportunity hoarding (ex. overinvestment and disinvestment of services, public goods, and infrastructure), and surveillance (ex. “War on Drugs”) – and provided recent examples of each with a focus on the cancellation of the Red Line Project, which would have provided a great economic benefit to lower income Baltimoreans.

2. Baltimore is a case study for residential caste in America

During the antebellum era, Baltimore had the largest free Black population among slave-holding states. As late as the 1890s, Black people could live wherever they could buy a house, as there wasn’t a Jim Crow caste at the time. Professor Cashin focuses on Baltimore in the first chapter of her book, using it as a case study for residential caste because of these early progressive beginnings. She argues that Baltimore is the birthplace of this type of neighborhood inequality. During our conversation she referenced two prominent Baltimore legal leaders – W. Ashbie Hawkins and George W.F. McMechen – who were early resisters of inequality in the city. We also reviewed the history of hypersegregation in Baltimore through different planning maps, providing a visual for the city’s evolution to a residential caste system.

3. There is hope for the future

I was inspired to learn that there are solutions to the issues of our cities, and it is as simple as reversing harmful processes. Professor Cashin proposed many strategies, including inclusionary zoning, racial equity investment, and humanization and care. She stresses that historically disadvantaged neighborhoods should be prioritized in investment decisions. One strategy towards humanization that she proposed using was Peacemaker Fellowships to help reduce crime by helping offenders become assets in their community through intentional investment. Professor Cashin also referenced strategies like BRHP’s Baltimore Housing Mobility Program in relocating community members from high-risk communities. Additional strategies included civic mobilization efforts to energize community members that typically would not vote and creating multiracial coalitions in advocacy efforts. In Professor Cashin’s January 2022 op-ed in Politico she highlights the importance of multiracial coalitions working together to dismantle unjust systems.

Since our conversation with Professor Cashin, I feel more confident that there are long-term solutions to end the trauma and exploitation of Black communities. Professor Cashin is bold in her calls to action, and I am encouraged that many of these calls have already been proven to work in other cities. I am inspired to unite with like-minded individuals to be a part of the solution of repairing and rebuilding our communities.

Watch the replay of our event below and let us know what you think.

You can purchase White Space, Black Hood at

Jocelyn Daniels is BRHP’s Communications and Special Projects Intern and a graduating senior, studying political science, at Morgan State University.

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