BRHP is dedicated to helping achieve racially and socially equitable public policy that ensures families with low income have access to quality and affordable homes in communities of their choice. As affordable housing advocates we prioritize policy that combats the persistence of income inequality, racial segregation, environmental inequalities, and poverty concentration. On June 22, 2022, BRHP joined the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Beyond the Boundaries Steering Committee and other fair housing organizations to express support for policy that will strengthen inclusionary housing in Baltimore City.

Baltimore’s most recent inclusionary housing law was enacted in 2007 as City Ordinance No. 07-474 and adopted under Inclusionary Housing Requirements Article 13, Subtitle 2B of the Housing and Urban Renewal Baltimore City Code. The bill had intentions to require residential developments to provide affordable units to promote economic diversity, poverty deconcentration and equitable neighborhoods. However, the law expired on June 30, 2022, and only produced 37 affordable housing units in 15 years, rendering it ineffective and merely decorative.

Councilwoman Odette Ramos of District 14 introduced Council Bill 22-0195, “Inclusionary Housing for Baltimore City,” to correct the deficiencies in the expired law and remove barriers to the production of inclusionary housing units. As supporters of this bill, BRHP collaborated with the councilwoman to amplify the importance of having an effective inclusionary housing bill in a city where racial inequalities and segregation continue to imbrue neighborhoods overtly and implicitly.

BRHP Executive Director Adria Crutchfield and BRHP Client Advisory Board member Monica Braxton joined Councilwoman Ramos and the inclusionary housing steering committee at a press conference in front of City Hall to urge city officials to pass Council Bill 22-0195. BRHP’s representatives shared the importance and impact of the Baltimore Housing Mobility Program in connecting families to affordable housing and made powerful remarks supporting the strengthened inclusionary housing bill.

According to the 2021 Out of Reach Report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, to afford a 2-bedroom home in Baltimore without paying more than 30% of your income on housing, the average renter must earn an annual income of over $55,000; that’s a wage of $26.62 an hour. However, the current minimum wage in Maryland is only $11.75. As underscored by Crutchfield, “the math ain’t mathin.”

In her remarks to the press, Crutchfield underlined the direct link between access to affordable housing and health outcomes, and the importance of utilizing housing policies, such as inclusionary housing law, to help low- and moderate-income families build wealth and achieve stability. Alongside Crutchfield, Braxton shared how access to affordable housing through the Baltimore Housing Mobility Program made a positive impact in her family’s life.

“It is important to provide more affordable housing options for our families and include us in these new developments,” said Braxton. “We are the heartbeat of this city and providing more options that can give our children a safe place to grow and thrive will only benefit this city for generations to come”.

BRHP was proud to unite with local affordable housing advocates to support policy that will impact generations to come in Baltimore. It is our hope that the impact will be one of progress for all Baltimoreans. As we push City Council for a bill hearing date, we urge the Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development and Mayor Brandon Scott to take swift and bold action to achieve a successful inclusionary housing policy that will help achieve long-term investments in affordable housing and reduce the longstanding disparities in the most vulnerable communities. With the help of city leadership and housing advocates, BRHP will continue to make incremental and strategic efforts to support inclusionary housing in Baltimore City.

Fiona Mesfun is a policy associate at the Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership


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