Program to open doors to renting, buying homes for disabled in Baltimore

November 06, 2001

People with developmental disabilities who want to rent apartments or buy homes in Baltimore will be able to get help through a public-private program announced yesterday.

"Maryland Opening Doors -- A Home of Your Own Project" is sponsored by Arc of Anne Arundel County. The program has been operating in Anne Arundel and Montgomery counties for two years and has helped hundreds of people.

Michael Gordon, 27, bought a two-bedroom condominium in Annapolis with help from the program. "If I can do it, then you can too," Gordon said during yesterday's news conference.

The Housing Authority of Baltimore City and the Baltimore Association for Retarded Citizens Inc. will help coordinate the initiative. The program will be co-funded by the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation and the Fannie Mae Foundation.

Joy M. Savage, project director, said hopes are to take the program statewide. Some of its goals are to change public perceptions about the developmentally disabled and to help those who are interested in independent living.

Most of the program's participants choose apartment rentals that are usually financed by subsidies they receive because of a disability. Two people in Anne Arundel and three in Montgomery are using the program's homeownership counseling services.

While Gordon's family helped him buy his condominium, others may seek low-interest loans available to the disabled or convert their Section 8 housing vouchers. The program has no income requirements.

A public forum for those interested in the program will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Coppin State College, 2500 W. North Ave. For more information or to make a reservation, call 410-990-1933.

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