Serving the Southern Maryland Tri-County Area
Southern Maryland Minority Chamber of Commerce Foundation

Consumer Alert: Utility Shut-Off Notices

Utility Shut-Off Notices Begin Again: What To Do if You Receive One

As of October 1, 2020, utility companies in Maryland may once again started sending utility shut-off notices to consumers. However, the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) has prohibited residential utility shut-offs, including gas, water, and electric services, from occurring until at least November 15, 2020. The 45-day window between a utility shut-off notice and the date that the shut-off can occur provides consumers the time to apply for financial assistance or work out a payment plan with the utility.

If you are behind in utility payments and received a utility shut-off notice, there are actions you can take to help avoid having your service disconnected. Immediately upon receipt of a shut-off notice, contact the utility to ask about extended payments plans, budget billing, or other measures to avoid service termination.

You may also apply for emergency assistance to pay the utility bills that are overdue. Information on energy assistance programs is available from these resources:

If you work out a payment plan with the utility or find financial assistance to pay off your past-due bills, the PSC has ordered that your service will not be disconnected. Any payment plan you work out with a company regulated by the PSC is required to be, at minimum, a 12-month repayment plan. Furthermore, these utilities may not collect a down payment or deposit as a requirement of that repayment plan.

Please note that not all utilities are subject to the PSC’s order, including some telecom providers (such as wireless telephone companies) as well as some water and sewer agencies. If you received a shut-off notice from a utility that is not regulated by the PSC, contact that utility immediately to see if they will work out a payment plan to avoid disconnecting your service.

Do NOT wait to reach out for help if you receive a shut-off notice. If you don’t take any action to help avoid a termination, the utility may disconnect your service 45 days after they have given you notice.

NIH to Assess and Expand COVID-19 Testing for Under-served Communities

The National Institutes of Health has awarded nearly $234 million to improve COVID-19 testing for under-served and vulnerable populations. A part of the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative, the RADx Under-served Populations (RADx-UP) program will support 32 institutions across the United States and will focus on populations disproportionately affected by the pandemic. These groups include African Americans, American Indians/Alaskan Natives, Latinos/Latinas, Native Hawaiians, older adults, pregnant women and those who are homeless or incarcerated.

RADx-UP will support projects with established community partnerships that can use their existing research infrastructures to swiftly implement strategies and interventions to increase access and uptake of COVID-19 testing among under-served and vulnerable populations.

Click here to view entire Press Release

Virtual Community Development Week: Sept. 30th – Oct. 8th

Join us for Community Development Week 2020!
September 30: Disaster on Main Street: Two floods & COVID
Let’s take a walk down Ellicott City Main Street in Howard County. The old mill town was ravaged by deadly catastrophic flooding in 2016 and 2018. And now in 2020, their recovery has been disrupted by Covid-19. During this tour, we will discuss the county’s $140 million dollar Safe and Sound Plan that included demolition and will leave the area with an average water depth of 3 feet on lower Main Street should a flood similar to 2016 happen again. We will talk with the new Main Street manager and the county about their current plans for economic development.
Location: ONLINE Ellicott City Main Street (Howard County)
Time: 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Register: HERE
September 30: High Efficiency Homeownership in Hyattsville
Join us for the ribbon cutting at Palmer Park Meadows in Hyattsville, MD. This development consists of 9 townhomes built to a Net Zero Ready Standard for residents at 80% of AMI. Net-Zero homes have super energy efficiency “designed-in’ and produce as much energy as they consume.
Location: ONLINE Hyattsville MD (Prince George’s County)
Time: 11:00 AM- 12:00 NOON
Register: HERE
October 1:  Opportunity Zone Housing
Welcome to Ox Fibre Apartments! This new development will bring 83 new apartments to Frederick, MD. Layering Opportunity Zones equity with state Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (Housing Credits), federal Historic Tax Credits (HTC), and additional sources of debt allowed the developer to bring a 19th century warehouse back to life while providing affordable to current residents. Once completed in 2021, homes will be available to families earning 40 to 60% of AMI.
Location ONLINE (Frederick County)
Time: 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Register: HERE
October 1: Victory welcomes new residents in pandemic
Let’s mask up for the ribbon cutting at Victory Haven. This 72 unit development in Damascus was completed in June by Victory Housing and is now 70% leased and 50% occupied. COVID-19 has not diminished the demand for affordable housing. This project is funded by Montgomery county with LIHTC, Capital One, Freddie, HOC as well as others. This will be a virtual celebration to commemorate this latest affordable senior community.
Location: ONLINE Damascus (Montgomery County)
Time: 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Register: HERE
October 2: Building for Generations – Cambridge
The Chesapeake Grove Intergenerational Center will bring several services under one roof in a space designed to address the communities’ expectations for modern services and facilities. The center will house adult and child day care in a safe home like setting. Delmarva Community Development Services will bring all ages together. This space is designed to encourage interactions between seniors and young people. The center will create new opportunities for a variety of activities for all ages.
Location: ONLINE
Time: 1:00 – 3:00 PM
Register: HERE
October 5: Housing Counselor Connections
Join us for an afternoon of important national, state and local updates for housing and financial counselors. Counselors are a vital resource for renters and homeowners who need housing and mortgage assistance to recover financially from the effects of the COVID-19 emergency. We will have representatives from National Housing Resource Center, HUD and MD DHCD and hear from counselors across the state about their COVID-19 response.
Location: ONLINE
Time: 1:00 – 3:00 PM
Register: HERE
October 6: Broadband for All: Statewide Connectivity
The Covid- 19 pandemic has exposed the digital divide for every citizen across Maryland. Students, workers, healthcare all need access to affordable high-speed internet to function. It is an essential component of every county’s economic development and services to its residents, yet not every household has access. Come to this forum to understand the current state and federal strategies to get every citizen connected to broadband in Maryland.
Location: ONLINE
Time: 1:00 – 3:00 PM
Register: HERE
October 7: East Baltimore: Johnston Square Revitalization
Come with us to Johnston Square where ReBuild Metro has recently helped complete a community Vision Plan to stabilize East Baltimore between Penn Station and Johns Hopkins Hospital into a sustainable, safe, healthy, opportunity-rich communities, without displacing their existing residents. We will review the $140 million in planned local investments, including: redevelopment of abandoned properties into for-sale and rental homes; multifamily and mixed-use developments; commercial and manufacturing spaces for local workers and entrepreneurs; and parks and playgrounds.
Location: Online (Baltimore City)
Time: 10:00 – 11:30 AM.
Register: HERE 
October 8 CDN’s Annual Meeting & Awards Luncheon
Join us as we celebrate the work of CDN and our members. Congratulate your colleagues as we present our Awards of Excellence on line.  Please review our awards and nominate organizations and your colleagues here.
Location: ONLINE (Statewide)
Time: 1:00 PM.
Register: HERE
Community Development Network of Maryland
sole purpose is to promote, strengthen and advocate for
Maryland’s community development industry.

Community Development Network: COVID-19 Updates

Mapping Neighborhoods where Low-income Renters Face Greatest Risk of Eviction

A new tool developed by a team of Urban Institute researchers can help you prioritize the most vulnerable renters in the state as part of an equitable COVID-19 response. As the pandemic exacerbates the nation’s affordable housing and homelessness crises and widens racial disparities in housing instability, localities must decide where to allocate emergency rental assistance funds to help renters avoid losing their homes. Search for your county or Continuum of Care geography to see which neighborhoods could be prioritized for emergency rental assistance.


 FHA’s Foreclosure and Eviction Moratorium Extended Through December 31, 2020

On August 27, 2020, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) published Mortgagee Letter (ML) 2020-27, Extension of Foreclosure and Eviction Moratorium in Connection with the Presidentially-Declared COVID-19 National Emergency. This letter announces a third extension of the foreclosure and eviction moratorium through December 31, 2020. This extension is effective immediately upon the expiration of the existing moratorium announced in ML 2020-19. This guidance is applicable to all FHA Title II single family forward mortgage and Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) reverse mortgage programs, except for those secured by vacant and/or abandoned properties. Read the entire Press Release


New Executive Director for CDN

Claudia Wilson Randall will become the executive director of the Community Development Network of Maryland on Sept 1. Randall has more than two decades of experience in community development, housing and nonprofit leadership in Maryland, at both the local and state level.

See Press Release.


HELP US HELP YOU – Renew your CDN membership today!

Throughout the Covid-19 crisis, CDN has provided timely information to you and your staff. It’s more critical than ever that we band together for meaningful opportunity for all Marylanders.

Please click here to pay your membership today.



Please add census completion to your food, health and rental assistance messaging! Here is the dashboard for Maryland Census. You can remind your clients and partners that when a vaccine is found for Covid-19, it will be distributed on the basis of census data! Outreach materials can be found here.



Updates from the Maryland Department of Commerce…

3 Tips for Networking Remotely as Business Development Moves Online – By Jim Ries, Offit KurmanNetworking online is new for many of us and it takes time to get it right. We are all learning to use new technology and proper etiquette while video chatting.  If you like the article attend Jim’s webinar Tuesday to learn more.

67% of employees find employee handbooks helpful. Does your company have one? About half of the companies that do have one say they have updated it since COVID-19. Create your own employee handbook (for free!) using the Workest Employee Handbook Builder tool.

New – Maryland Task Force Best Practices for Business Reopening Webinars are focused on Professional ServicesPersonal ServicesManufacturing and Construction, and Hospitality and Tourism. The webinars feature updates from officials at the Maryland Department of Health, Maryland Department of Commerce and Maryland State Police. All Task Force webinars can be found here:

Maryland’s Recovery Plan for Child Care Outlines Path Forward – Maryland Together: A plan to continue and expand child care during the COVID-19 Pandemic.  View the full Recovery Plan and the Plan FAQs for Parents.

Want to help your business? Prioritize taking care of your mental health. –Inc.


Community Development Network of Maryland Updates

August 13, 2020
RE: CDN Membership Renewal
Dear Members and Colleagues:
This is an unprecedented time in our state’s and nation’s history. The impact of COVID-19 took us all by surprise and is not letting up. All of you have been adapting to serve your communities the best way possible.
CDN has been working hard to keep you informed of the latest resources so you can determine how to operate in this new normal. We have also been advocating to address the impending housing crisis about to take place across the state.
We thank you so much for being a member of CDN during this time. It is your membership that has allowed CDN to accomplish so much this past membership year, including the following:
  • Pass the HOME ACT after more than 20 years of work, ending source of income discrimination in Maryland,
  • Host our 6th Annual Community Development Week which highlighted various community development activities around the state and gained significant media attention,
  • Prepare more than 30 housing counselors in Maryland for the HUD Certification exam,
  • Provide timely information to our members across the state during the COVID-19 crisis.
Our nation has been rocked to its core, and it’s more critical than ever that we band together for meaningful change that seeks to achieve opportunity for all Marylanders. CDN will continue to promote, strengthen and advocate for Maryland’s community development industry so that you can continue to your important work for residents and neighborhoods.
Please renew today by completing this membership form and sending it to us with your check, or going to our website.
If you have not been a member, we encourage you to become one. We would really appreciate it! The membership form and website given is the best way to become a member.
Thank you for your continued engagement and participation.
Odette Ramos
Executive Director
Claudia Wilson Randall
Associate Director
Become a Member Sponsor of
Community Development Week!
7th Annual Community Development Week is
September 30-October 8, 2020
We are excited to host Community Development Week this year virtually! Stay tuned for complete details. Our Annual Meeting will culminate Community Development Week on October 8, and it will be virtual.
In the meantime if you would like to be a member sponsor of Community Development Week, please add any of the following amounts to your membership renewal:
$100 Basic Member Sponsor
$300 Spotlight Member Sponsor
$500 Expert Member Sponsor
Member Sponsors will be added to the sponsor lists and programs presented for each Community Development Week event.