We call for a Fair Development 20/20 Vision for Baltimore
BECAUSE: Baltimore’s trickle down development policy approach has, for decades, destabilized communities and left many residents in a severe jobs and housing crisis;
BECAUSE: The history of development in Baltimore has been separate and unequal, and because structural racism remains unaddressed by public policy, Black households disproportionately experience unemployment, housing obstacles, and criminalization;
BECAUSE: This city’s public policy needs to address the speculative pressures that are a part of the private housing market. Speculative pressures of the housing market and low incomes have resulted in over 7,000 evictions each year, and over 1/3 of residents either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. It has also presented unaddressed challenges for local small businesses struggling with rents, stable customer base and access to locally grown food;
BECAUSE: With over 31,000 vacant properties in Baltimore (approximately 20% of the housing stock) and thousands more in the region, our communities have become less equitable and less secure for our families, neighbors, and community institutions;
BEACAUSE: More than 45,000 immigrants are now City residents and many face the same speculative housing pressure and employment challenges as long-time residents;
BECAUSE: We want to end the practice of cities using a thriving arts culture to attract investment in speculative housing that ironically drives out artists and divides low income communities;
BECAUSE: We are at a moral crossroads, in 2015 alone 102 residents died while homeless;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED: That the undersigned organization calls on city leaders to:
- Commit $20 million in public bonds annually invested in community land trust (CLT) housing, deposited in a community-controlled, housing trust fund, and commit $20 million in public bonds annually to deconstruct vacants, create green space, opportunities for urban agriculture.
- Establish a Land Bank (already authorized by city charter) to facilitate disposition of vacant properties or empower Vacants to Values program to facilitate property acquisition for CLT development.
- Hire locally: train city residents, give priority given to returning citizens from incarceration for employment in deconstruction and rehabbing vacant property.
- Support community leaders and organizations with implementing or revising community master plans, providing technical support, and supporting CLTs and community groups with leadership development efforts and leadership succession to ensure long-term sustainability and community participation.