Landmark Settlement to Expand Affordable Housing in Baltimore
HUD recently announced a settlement agreement with Baltimore County, Md., to expand affordable housing in higher opportunity areas throughout the county. The settlement will serve as a catalyst to promote housing mobility and to assist the county and its surrounding areas in developing comprehensive affordable housing planning and strategies that address residential segregation, according to HUD.
The groundbreaking agreement commits $30 million over 10 years to develop at least 1,000 affordable housing units for low- and very low-income residents. The county also will provide 2,000 Housing Choice Vouchers through a housing mobility program to help families to gain access to higher opportunity neighborhoods. At least one-third of the affordable units created under the agreement will be accessible and made available to people with disabilities. The agreement also calls for the introduction of a county ordinance to prohibit discrimination based on source of income.
The settlement resolves a 2011 HUD complaint filed by the NAACP and others, alleging that the county had not developed affordable housing in areas other than those that were concentrated by race and poverty and focused only on providing rental housing for seniors rather than families. The complaint also alleged that adequate numbers of accessible units were unavailable to people with disabilities and that the county’s actions failed to affirmatively further fair housing.
“Every person deserves a fair shot at opportunity and that starts with a decent, safe, and affordable place to call home,” HUD Secretary Julián Castro said in a statement. “This agreement sets Baltimore County on a path to stronger, more inclusive communities where everyone can enjoy equal access to opportunity. Many thanks to all involved for coming together to expand housing choice in the County.”