We call for a new 20/20 Vision for Baltimore
BECAUSE: Baltimore development subsidies can better support neighborhood development and housing for working and low-income persons.
BECAUSE: Too often, Baltimore’s development subsidies support commercial development focused on entertainment, hospitality, and retail businesses, which generally provide work that is lower-paying, making it very difficult for workers to live near their work or in thriving neighborhoods.
BECAUSE: The City, through its planning and development policies, must invest in our residents to ensure that those with low-paying jobs, detention histories, lack of transportation and other problems finding full time work with benefits can afford rising rents and increased costs of homeownership.
BECAUSE: Approximately one-third of Baltimore households are annually at risk of homelessness or are homeless.
We, the undersigned, call on city leaders to:
- Commit $20 million annually in public bonds and other funds to create a range of permanently affordable rental and homeownership opportunities, including community land trusts, deposited into a community-controlled housing trust fund, and commit $20 million annually in public bonds and other funds to for capital programs like deconstructing vacant properties, creating green spaces and urban agriculture and other programs where people facing employment obstacles can be employed.
- Establish a Land Bank (already authorized by city charter) to dispose of vacant properties or reform the Vacants to Values program to assist neighborhoods and neighborhood based non-profit groups to acquire property.
- Ensure that jobs created by these funds support those returning from detention or homelessness and ensure Union certified training and prevailing wages, specifically designate apprentice positions, and ensure the right of these workers to organize.
- Commit additional funding for general operating and capacity building for nonprofit community development organizations.
What are people in Baltimore saying about community land trusts and the 20/20 vision?
“I am a gardener. I love plants and green space, but there is not a lot of that in our neighborhood. Charm City Land Trust got started because it wanted to address the issue of affordable housing, but also green spaces. It now stewards some of the only green space in my entire neighborhood… I feel a commitment to my neighborhood as the land trust has a commitment to the area.” –Ann Sackey, Charm City Land Trust
“ We can do better. Market housing is what got us here, so we want something different, something new, something more permanent. We want to keep people in homes. We want our communities to be strong… to be like a family that looks out for one another.” – John Gaither, Housing Our Neighbors
“The struggle to find housing with dignity is a an all too real struggle shared by many families in our city. I have seen the pain of families that have lost their homes to foreclosure, evictions, and have struggled with homelessness. I have also had to say goodbye to too many families that have been displaced from our neighborhood. The CLT is a Fair Development method that helps us to see land, and homes on the land, as a community to which we should feel we belong.” – Fr Ty Hullinger, North East Housing Initiative