Counties play a critical role in building cohesive and sustainable communities for all individuals, often serving as a haven for the minority, the low-income earners, and indigent residents.

Overall, counties have a responsibility to promote economic development and public oversight. 

To ensure that all residents achieve their full potential in terms of access to equal employment opportunities, healthcare, and affordable housing, county leaders are making significant efforts to integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion into county operations. 

Baltimore is no exception in making these efforts. Below is a summary of Baltimore’s attempts to encourage DEI initiatives and build a sustainable society for all:

Community Development

The Housing and Community Development Department established projects to help achieve equitable community development. A survey carried out in 2020 showed that the Catalyst Grant Program channeled over 3 million dollars to support community development organizations. Out of the 35 recipients of the funding, 22 of them are minorities. 

Additionally, the Neighborhood Investment Fund is focusing on supporting areas that are historically dis-invested and since the inception of the program, the department has put in 7.2 million dollars towards the cause. 

Expanding Access to City Services

Baltimore is making significant efforts to expand access to city services. The city’s Parking Authority is rolling out a Virtual Permit Parking program, to replace physical permits. In line with the DEI initiatives, since 2019 the city has been setting up pay-by-plate parking meters and pay-by-cell phone meters to increase ways of processing city payments and convenience in doing so. 

Besides, the Disabilities Division of the Office of Equity and Civil rights is ensuring that there is equal access to information to people with hearing impairments by having a Sign Language interpreter for all press conferences. The board of Liquor License Commissioners is making a similar attempt to improve access to information by translating documents for the licensee. Ultimately, the Baltimore City Law Department also aims to have an effective language access program that will help people with hearing and visual disabilities, as well as individuals with limited proficiency in English. 

Affordable Housing Access and Development

The Department of Housing and Community Development’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund continues to support low-income earners in Baltimore. The department dedicates $15 million every fiscal year to improve the housing instability. Furthermore, Baltimore features a Weatherization Assistance Program to support low-income homes by reducing utility bills and providing job placement. 

Youth Education and Career Development

Some of the initiatives by Baltimore have been to help the youth advance their careers. Through free e-books, computers, and printers, low-income students can now access quality education. Other programs such as Social workers in the library and free bus passes are all instrumental in advancing the initiative.

Applied Development Advocates for the Rights of People with Diversabilities

At Applied Development, we fight for the rights of people of all abilities to be able to work and communicate effectively. We offer a wide range of diversability services, including sign language interpretation, CART services, reader services, 504/508 disability compliance, and advocacy. 

Call us today at 410.571.4016 for more information about our services or reach out through our website.