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Maryland Department of Disabilities
Newsletter                                                                                 April 2017
Governor Hogan signing bill with legislators looking on and MDOD staff in background
2017 Legislative Session

The 2017 legislative session came to a close on April 10th bringing with it significant progress for the disability community.  Governor Hogan will spend the next several weeks signing bills into law to close out the session. One of the first bills signed by the Governor was to ensure continued support and progress for the ABLE program in Maryland (pictured at left).  You can check the status of disability related bills at the below link and stay tuned for the Maryland Department of Disabilities 2017 legislative recap with guest columnist, Elizabeth Hall, Director of Interagency Affairs, which will be featured in our May newsletter!
row of homes with tree in foreground
Affordable Housing Awareness Month

April is Affordable Housing Awareness month across the nation.  This month is intended to increase public knowledge of local housing issues including the need for increased affordable and accessible housing for individuals and families with low to moderate incomes. Those with disabilities often encounter even fewer housing resources due to the scarcity of housing options for those with specialized access needs. 

As part of the Maryland Partnership for Affordable Housing (MPAH), the Department of Disabilities works with other state agencies to align polices and increase opportunities for expansion of affordable housing in Maryland.  We will be featuring stories from this partnership during Affordable Housing Awareness month on our website and social media.  To find out more information on housing issues in Maryland, please see our website at the below link.

Maryland Department of Disabilities Housing Link
First Lady poses with youth artist
First Lady's Mental Health               Awareness Art Shows
Recognizing the importance of mental health awareness and the expressive power of art, Maryland's First Lady will host two art shows this Spring highlighting mental health awareness month in May.  Both shows will be displayed in the Lowe House Office building in Annapolis. The first, will focus on adult artists who express their mental health journey through their works.  Each set of artwork will express a narrative of personal healing and spark discussion on the reduction of stigma associated with mental health concerns.  The reception for this display will be held on April 24th and is open to the public.  See the below link for details.

The second show highlights the importance of good mental health for Maryland's youth.  Children and youth from across Maryland were asked to create artwork expressing something which makes them feel mentally happy, healthy and hopeful. A selection of this work will be showcased in Annapolis at Celebrating Through Art: The First Lady's Mental Health Awareness Youth Art Display during Children's Mental Health Awareness Week May 1-12th.  Mrs. Hogan will host a reception and celebration of the artists on May 8th.  The reception is open to the public, but pre-registration is required at the below link. 


Behavioral Health Awareness Art Show Link

Image of group against brick wall with words Brave in the attempt June 7 at Towson University and When was the last time you took a risk
When have you taken a risk to be your best self?

Join the Maryland Department of Disabilities, the Developmental Disabilities Administration, Special Olympics Maryland, and StoryCorps on June 7th at Towson University for Brave in the Attempt.
Brave in the Attempt will use a personal story telling platform to encourage those with disabilities to serve as mentors and role models for others with disabilities and the wider community. The public will have an opportunity to record their own life experiences for the StoryCorps project while at the event.  All of these short stories are archived on the StoryCorps website and at the Library of Congress.  Attendees will also have the chance to enjoy speakers who have intellectual and developmental disabilities discussing their own life experiences. The event will feature a resource fair and lots to do!  Don't miss it! Public registration will open on May 1st! Stay tuned!