Image of Maryland State Flag close up with words Maryland Department of Disabilities Newsletter printed in white
Maryland Department of Disabilities Newsletter
May 2016
Featured Article
First Lady pictured with student artist with artwork on wall in background
Celebrating Through Art: The First Lady's Mental Health Awareness Youth
Art Display 
Maryland's First Lady, Mrs. Yumi Hogan, hosted the first annual art show marking Children's Mental Health Awareness Week.  The art opening and reception was held on May 2nd at the Lowe House Office building in Annapolis.  Over 175 guests joined the First Lady to celebrate art work by youth with and without disabilities from across the state of Maryland.  The Maryland Department of Disabilities was pleased to partner with other state agencies and organizations on this important campaign.  Read more at the below link.  

April Archived Blogs

Jake poses in suit with three female Montgomery County police officers in uniform
Upcoming May Blogs

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.  Do not miss our blogs all month highlighting mental health issues, advocacy, services, AND MUCH MORE!  Sign up for our weekly blog direct emails so you do not miss a thing!

Changing Maryland for the better logo

ADA:  The Next 25 Years



Be on the lookout for information on the 26th Anniversary ADA Celebration this July!  ADA:  The Next 25 Years will focus on developments in physical, social, economic, and communication accessibility in Maryland. 
President Bush at signing of ADA

April Brings Great Housing News Partners in the 811 program cutting red ribbon at housing opening

April marked the 47th annual recognition of Fair Housing Month which was initially celebrated in 1969.  Additionally, the last week of April is recognized as affordable housing week.  Currently, both of these awareness campaigns are intended to increase public knowledge of local housing issues including the need for increased affordable and accessible housing for individuals with low to moderate incomes.  People with disabilities often encounter even fewer resources due to the scarcity of housing options for those with specialized access needs. With the increased focus on housing issues during the month, it seemed fitting for the Maryland Department of Disabilities to make several key announcements improving affordable and accessible housing in Maryland.

The Maryland Department of Disabilities, as part of the Maryland Partnership for Affordable Housing (MPAH), was pleased to announce the grand opening of the first 811 Project Rental Assistance units in Harford County on April 29th.  Local elected officials, members of the partnership, and tenants in the new units gathered at Riverwoods Tollgate to mark the occasion with a reception and ribbon cutting.

Additionally, the Maryland Department of Disabilities was proud to announce a new $2 million grant from The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation aimed at increasing the volume of deeply affordable units for people with disabilities with low income.  Read more about the grant at the below link.

Group photo of ABLE bill signing with Goverenor Hogan
ABLE Act Signed! 

Governor Hogan signed the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act into law on April 12th  after months of bipartisan support.  The ABLE Act ensures those with disabilities have the opportunity to save money for the future without negatively impacting needed federal means tested benefits.  Implementation of this federal law in Maryland will give many people who acquired disabilities prior to the age of 26 the option to open tax-exempt bank accounts with the funds reserved for future disability-related expenses. 

Following the passage of federal legislation in 2014, the Maryland Department of Disabilities led the task force to draft suggested implementation of ABLE in Maryland. Implementation recommendations were completed in December of 2015 and submitted for consideration by the Maryland General Assembly. The legislation was introduced as House Bill 431 and Senate Bill 355. Throughout the session, Governor Hogan lent his support to the legislation and ensured the state supplemental budget included needed start up costs for establishing the program.


Read more about the ABLE bill signing HERE  

Sign up for ABLE Act alerts HERE                    
Governor Hogan Declares Children's Mental Health Awareness Week
Mental Health matters campaing partners pose with childrens mental health awareness week proclamation  
Governor Hogan signed a Proclamation declaring May 1st through 7th Children's Mental Health Awareness Week in Maryland.  Mental health refers to a person's overall emotional, behavioral, and psychological well-being. It impacts how
think, feel, and act.  It's easy to know your child needs help dealing with a fever or a broken bone, but mental health problems can be more difficult to identify.  One in five children andadolescents may experience a mental, emotional, or behavioral health concern before the age of 18.  Unfortunately, 70% of school-aged children with a diagnosable mental illness do not receive treatment.  Children's Mental Health Awareness Week aims to shine the light on the importance of good mental health and the need for earlier identification when issues arise. 

Transition Corner
Director of Employment and other partners at conference under pergola  
The Maryland Department of Disabilities Employment Policy Director presented at the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition's 10th annual Capacity Building Institute in early May.  Maryland is pleased to share our knowledge of best practices as we continue to progress in our implementation of the successful Maryland PROMISE initiative.  PROMISE is a federal grant based on the premise that high risk youth experience better outcomes when exposed to early work experiences.  You can read more about Maryland PROMISE at