Are you a frustrated tenant or landlord wondering what government officials can do to help the ongoing housing crisis? Luckily, some officials are stepping up and making changes. Recently, Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott has announced that he’s directing $100 million towards neighborhood revitalization, tenant protections, and affordable housing in Baltimore. However, where is this money coming from, and how will it help the citizens of Baltimore? Read on to learn about the American Rescue Plan and how Mayor Scott’s initiatives can help landlords and tenants in Baltimore.
What is the $100 Million Baltimore Housing Initiative?
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, several cities in the United States have experienced unfavorable housing situations. Not only have home and rent prices skyrocketed, but landlords have experienced instability with finding tenants. As a result, many of these issues have led to Baltimore’s vacant or abandoned property issues.
The $100 million initiative announced by Mayor Scott is designed to help increase housing stability by protecting homeowners, landlords, and tenants. Additionally, there is a focus on preserving housing gains, implementing vacancy recommendations, and preventing blight. In this scenario, blight refers to the housing market, as current demands are much higher than the housing supply.
That said, the allocation of funds for the initiative is split into three different sections, including:
- Strategic Capital Investments – $56.3 million
- Blight Elimination and Prevention – $39.7 million
- Resident Protection and Anti-Displacement – $4 million
Next, let’s go over some of these housing initiatives more in-depth.
Strategic Capital Investments
Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for housing has only increased significantly. Above all, these capital investments can help support community development and affordable housing in Baltimore.
Some of the larger focuses of these capital investments include:
- Senior multi-family and homeownership opportunities
- Affordable housing development at Somerset and Perkins homes
- Public infrastructure and support for the second phase of the Uplands redevelopment
- Public support and infrastructure for Baltimore’s first net-zero homeownership project, creating homeownership opportunities.
In addition to the plans above, there are several other plans for Mayor Brandon Scott’s $56.3 million strategic capital investments. Click here to learn more.
Blight Elimination and Prevention
The blight elimination and prevention initiative will address Baltimore’s vacant housing issue, help reduce public health disparities, and help improve housing instability. In addition, these efforts are also intended to reverse the trend of negative equity in Baltimore’s inner city, where moderate-income people of color make up the majority of homeowners.
Some of the focuses for blight elimination and prevention include:
- Building assets and addressing blight with extended capital investments into Baltimore’s impact investment areas
- Support for coordinating housing and related services for older citizens to improve health and safety and preserve the integrity of their housing
- Build wealth for citizens in undervalued middle markets
- Help Baltimore citizens who are already renting to afford homeownership
Resident Protection and Anti-Displacement
Many lower-income households were negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as many lost their jobs or saw significant pay reductions. The initiative brought forward by Mayor Scott helps provide legal services and utility assistance to minimize housing instability across low-income populations.
Therefore, the main focuses of the resident protection and anti-displacement initiative include:
- Provide tenants with access to legal services in the case of eviction to help prevent homelessness and displacement.
- Help lower-income citizens access solar energy as a utility assistance plan and expand workforce development opportunities in the solar installation industry.
Why Is It Necessary to Address Affordable Housing in Baltimore?
The housing initiative is necessary because the adverse housing issues that previously existed in Baltimore are worse now that the pandemic has hit. As a result, renters can’t afford to pay for housing, landlords can’t keep up with rental housing demand, and homelessness is still extremely prevalent. As a result, the initiatives listed above are necessary to create better and more affordable living arrangements for Baltimore citizens.
Mayor Brandon M. Scott said during a press conference, “Vacant properties or reduced property values increase blight, attract crime, and pose a nuisance to neighboring properties, and negatively impact the quality of life of Baltimoreans.”
The overall goal of the investments and initiatives is to “make Baltimore a more accessible and more affordable place to live and work”, according to United States Senator Chris Van Hollen. So, to improve the quality of life for citizens of Baltimore, the Mayor’s pledge is designed to make major improvements to the city.
Where is the Money Coming From?
The money for the housing initiatives comes from the American Rescue Plan. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 consists of government assistance initiatives and programs to help American citizens recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
That said, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provided $641 million to the City of Baltimore in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, $100 million will be used towards affordable housing initiatives and other related projects in Baltimore from that funding pool.
Will the Initiative Create Affordable Housing in Baltimore?
Yes, the money set forth for the Mayor’s Action Plan will create more affordable housing in Baltimore. For instance, some of Mayor Scott’s goals to achieve more affordable housing include:
- Create homeownership opportunities where there were previously vacant properties in middle neighborhoods
- Provide infrastructure and support for 150 units of affordable rental housing in the second phase of the Uplands redevelopment
- Help current renters afford homeownership
As you can see, many of the plans set to take place to revolve around helping citizens achieve affordable housing in Baltimore.
Potential Effects on Landlords and Tenants
The large housing implementations that are set to take place can positively impact landlords, tenants, and Baltimore property managers. For example, with increasing the number of housing opportunities in Baltimore, landlords can buy properties and expand rental businesses.
On the other hand, with more affordable housing opportunities promised in Baltimore, more renters may be able to transition into homeownership. Additionally, citizens that are struggling to find rental housing will be greeted with much better opportunities and living conditions.
Above all, the major plans and action strategies taking place in Baltimore will provide relief to all citizens, including landlords and tenants.
Need Help Running a Rental Business?
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