ince its relaunch in January 2018, the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) upgraded Live Near Your Work (LNYW) Program has helped 32 employees buy homes amid seven targeted Southwest Baltimore neighborhoods, leaving UMB leaders thrilled with the results.
“Becoming a homeowner and developing equity is a financially transformative life event,” says Dawn Rhodes, MBA, chief business and finance officer and vice president. “It’s phenomenal that UMB can do that for its employees and contribute to the revitalization of Southwest Baltimore at the same time.”
The improved LNYW Program offers eligible employees a UMB grant of $16,000 — plus a matching grant of $2,500 from the city of Baltimore — to help with closing costs and down payments on houses in the neighborhoods of Barre Circle, Franklin Square, Hollins Market, Mount Clare, Pigtown/Washington Village, Poppleton, and Union Square. The program also works with community partners to offer homeownership counseling, neighborhood tours, and housing fairs.
The University’s former LNYW outlay of $2,500 (plus $2,500 from the city) was rarely used, so UMB leaders committed $1.5 million to boost the grant, with over $500,000 used to date.
But Emily Winkler, Human Resources benefits manager and LNYW Program coordinator, says it’s more than money that has spurred employees to action.
“I feel that the community engagement aspect of the program really sealed the deal with our buyers,” she says. “Each one I have talked to has raved about their neighbors and this wonderful opportunity to become a homeowner.” C