Baltimore Debates Inclusionary Housing

The Baltimore City Council is set to vote on an inclusionary housing mandate designed to produce economically diverse neighborhoods and stave off gentrification.

The need for lower cost housing in Baltimore is becoming more acute as expensive new residential projects pop up along the City's waterfronts.

Michael Sarbanes, executive director of Citizens Planning and Housing Association, says that, "by helping to build a reserve of affordable homes and apartments, it could help ward off a situation like that in Washington, where vast swaths of the district are essentially unaffordable." The inclusionary housing ordinance is hoped to lead to mixed income neighborhoods, where people of all walks of life will benefit from Baltimore's rejuvenated housing market.

Meanwhile some developers counter that such a proposal could slow development by ruining profit margins. Jake Ruppert of Ruppert Homes says, "Anyone suggesting this bill will not have an impact and that people will continue to make a great deal of money in Baltimore City is not correct."

In addition to mandating that affordable housing be built in each new project, the bill will create a funding stream for an affordable housing trust fund. City Council President Sheila Dixon, who becomes Baltimore's next mayor in January, is expected to support the issue.

Thanks to Jermain Young

Full Story: Housing bill targets income diversity

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