The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation has expanded its initial funding for the Maryland Affordable Rental Housing Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities initiative, providing an additional $1 million investment in the program.

Governor Martin O’Malley joined Weinberg Foundation Chairman Donn Weinberg and Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Raymond A. Skinner in May 2011 to announce the landmark partnership to finance affordable, quality, independent, integrated housing opportunities for very low income persons with disabilities who meet certain eligibility criteria. The additional funding doubles the Weinberg Foundation’s total commitment for the initiative to $2 million.

“The Weinberg Foundation is especially proud of this program and its partnership with the State of Maryland as we work to provide persons with disabilities greater choice and independence in their daily lives,” said Donn Weinberg. “We are also thrilled to announce a $1 million grant for similar deeply-affordable housing in Illinois, reinforcing what the foundation hopes will become a national trend.”

Stan Goldman, Weinberg Foundation program director for disabilities, added, “Our focus groups with young people with multiple disabilities reveal the same desire: ‘We want a place of our own.’”

The 2011 “Weinberg Apartment” initiative was facilitated by the Maryland departments of disabilities, housing and community development and health and mental hygiene.  As part of the original agreement, the Weinberg Foundation provided $1 million over two years to be used as grant funds to cover capital costs for properties approved for other DHCD rental housing financing, including federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits.  The designated “Weinberg Apartments” will have very low rents so that they are affordable to non-elderly disabled households with incomes at 15 to 30 percent of the area median. Those households will be referred to the program by the department of health and mental hygiene.