FAQs

Colorful sunflower mural with hands in Baltimore's Franklin Square Neighborhood

Like many homebuying incentives, the Live Near Your Work (LNYW) program is a complex benefit. Please review all of the eligibility requirements and program parameters to fully understand how you can take advantage of this incentive.

How much money can I get?

University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) employees can get $18,500 toward a down payment and closing costs — $16,000 from UMB and $2,500 from the city of Baltimore. 

How is this different from the previous Live Near Your Work (LNYW) Program?

In the past, employees could get a total of $5,000 through the program instead of $18,500. The new program also targets a smaller set of neighborhoods and has been formed in collaboration with partners from the community, city, state, and local nonprofits. Overall, the improved program has greater opportunities available for UMB employees and the community at large. 

Who is eligible for the program?

Regular full- or part-time (50 percent FTE or more) faculty or staff employees of UMB in good standing and considered creditworthy. Employees also will need to complete a homeownership counseling program provided by a U.S. Housing and Urban Development-certified housing counselor before signing a contract for sale. Learn more about our eligibility requirements

Do UMB students qualify for this program?

No. Neither UMB undergraduate nor graduate students qualify for the LNYW Program. 

Why do I have to go to homeownership counseling?

The Baltimore City LNYW program requires a homeownership counseling certificate to be eligible for its funds. UMB chose to require a similar mandate because the program eligibility and parameters are similar. Learn more about how to access homeownership counseling

How much do I need for a down payment?

Employees are required to contribute a minimum homeowner down payment of $1,000. 

What neighborhoods are included in the program?

Employees must purchase a home in Barre Circle, Franklin Square, Hollins Market, Pigtown/Washington Village, Poppleton, Mount Clare, or Union Station to qualify. Learn more about the program's targeted neighborhoods.

Do I have to be a first-time homebuyer to qualify?

Employees do not have to be first-time homebuyers to qualify for the program. 

How long do I have to live in the house?

Employees must live in the home for five years from the date of settlement. This program parameter was created to encourage employees to make a long-term commitment to these neighborhoods and encourage community stabilization and revitalization. 

Can the grant be used to renovate a previously purchased home?

No. However, there are other programs available through the city of Baltimore and the state of Maryland that underwrite home renovations. 

What is the housing inventory like in these neighborhoods?

Housing inventory varies. Prospective homebuyers are encouraged to research listings and contact real estate agents familiar with the neighborhoods. 

How can I find a realtor?

You can utilize Live Baltimore to connect to real estate agents who serve the neighborhood areas. 

What improvements are coming to these neighborhoods?

There are always improvements planned for each of the neighborhoods. Southwest Partnership is working with homeowner associations to develop new assets (e.g., schools, programs, community centers) in an effort to attract and retain homeowners. For more information, contact Southwest Partnership

Do I have to pay taxes on the LNYW grant?

Yes. Employees will be taxed 20 percent of the $16,000 for each year they reside in the home up through the five-year requirement. The taxes will be reported as income via a W-2 form at the end of the year to the employee. If an employee does not reside in the home through the five-year requirement, the employee will be required to return 20 percent of the funds for each year they do not live in the property. 

Employees who separate from UMB during the five-year pay-back period of LNYW can expect the following:

  • After the departure date, the employee is no longer on the UMB payroll. Withholdings on the taxable benefit cannot continue after the final paycheck. The annual taxable amount ($3,200) will be captured in the year-end W-2. The employee will need to account for whatever withholdings are NOT taken from their pay when they file their tax return at the end of the year.
  • For every subsequent year up through Year Five after UMB separation, the employee will receive a 1099 noting the $3,200 taxable benefit. Withholdings will not occur, again, because the employee is no longer on the UMB payroll (W-2 is given through employer to the employee; 1099 given when the individual is not employed by entity taxing them).

Are there other homebuying incentives I can combine with this offer?

There are other grants and incentives that can be “stacked” or combined with the UMB Live Near Your Work Program. Other opportunities include House Keys 4 Employees, Vacants to Value, and more. Visit the Live Baltimore website for details. 

How do I apply?

Applications are available online. Before applying, familiarize yourself with the application process. Do not begin the application unless you have completed homeownership counseling and made an offer on a home.