BRHP Policy Priorities
The Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership’s public policy agenda is guided by our founding and through the lens of equity and inclusion on behalf of the families we serve and the housing mobility movement. We focus on addressing inequalities and supporting policy efforts that will bring more equitable distributions of resources to our communities. Our policy priorities include but are not limited to the following:
Expanding Housing Choices for Our Families
The Housing Choice Voucher program is the nation’s largest rental assistance program and has been proven effective in addressing housing instability through administrators like BRHP. Unfortunately, insufficient voucher program funding leads to needs being unmet and seemingly interminable waitlists. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reported that between 2011 and 2020, HCV agencies spent 99.9% of funding received.
Ensuring Protections for Low-Income Renters
Adopting laws and policies that better protect renters from unnecessary evictions, rent increases, unjust evictions laws, nuisance ordinances, and lack of affordable legal aid—can help reduce homelessness, family displacement and instability, and mitigate the current poverty crisis.
Promoting Inclusionary and Affordable Housing
Housing is the foundation of an individual’s and family’s well-being. Investing in affordable housing means investing in our community’s health, education, economic development, and safety.
Strengthening and Preserving Emergency Rental Assistance
The COVID-19 relief package was signed into law in December 2020 and allocated $25 billion towards Emergency Rental Assistance Programs for tenants with low-incomes and established the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). This has become a lifeline for families whose housing instability was exacerbated or initiated by the pandemic.
Deepening Housing and Health Collaborations
Healthier people are better able to maintain stable housing, and people with stable housing are better able to maintain their health. Expanding opportunities at the state, local, and organizational levels to forge collaborations between healthcare and housing providers will hopefully result in decreasing homelessness and housing instability in order to provide more effective and equitable healthcare and lower healthcare costs for vulnerable communities.
Using Housing Data to Inform Policy
Policy development and implementation can only be effective and equitable if transparency accountability, and accuracy are at the center of data collection and dissemination within all government agencies. Filling in housing research gaps can lead to smarter interventions that yield increased affordable housing production and to thwart housing insecurity.
Building A Stronger Baltimore Region
The Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership has a history of effectively weighing in with federal, state, and local legislators to promote equity in economic development, housing and community development, transportation, health, and education. It is our priority to support long-term, sustainable solutions that reduce longstanding disparities in Baltimore. Below are some causes that we are amplifying and supporting.
Letters to Legislators & Federal Agencies
In order to sustain our organization’s significant impact, we must advocate for legislation that will contribute to mitigating the historical symptoms of racial and economic inequalities that deprive our families of access to safe and affordable housing, full-service grocery stores, top-tier schools, employment opportunities, and much more that contribute to the ever-widening equity gap. Here are our policy priorities for the 2023 Legislative Session
FY23 DHCD Capital Budget Testimony
BRHP calls on legislators to support the Department of Housing and Community Capital Budget and take swift and bold action to achieve robust and equitable investments to address Maryland’s affordable housing shortage and homelessness crisis
BRHP urged legislators to add $175 million to DHCD’s operating budget to assist an estimated 20,000 Maryland families in avoiding eviction through ERAP.
SB315 Testimony – Housing Innovation Act
We support SB 315 because this legislation will build upon the Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County’s innovative techniques and financial models to create and preserve affordable housing across Maryland.
HB341- Transportation Equity Testimony
We support HB 341 because it will help to ensure that transportation policies and projects are inclusive and equitable by requiring an equity analysis for each transportation project and how it may impact marginalized communities.
HB460- DHCD Equity Analysis Testimony
We support HB 460 because we have seen year-over-year that precious financial resources administered by the Department be allocated in a manner disproportionate to the need across the state.
SB 848- Statewide Vouchers Testimony
We support Senate Bill 848 because establishing a state-funded housing choice voucher program will help more low-income families access rental assistance and lift thousands of families out of poverty.
HB 151- Rent Increases Testimony
We support HB 151 because with uncontrolled rent increases, a household’s employment, schooling, access to healthcare, and familial/community connections become disrupted.
HB150-Adaptive Reuse Testimony
We support HB 150 because adaptive reuse is another mechanism to add to our state’s tool chest for building affordable housing quickly and cheaply.
Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) revised
Our organization is the outcome of holding agencies accountable to their obligation to further fair housing and underscores the necessity of equipping our nation with an effective AFFH rule to defend communities against housing injustices.