December has been a landmark month for Baltimore City which has passed two new Inclusionary Housing bills. On Dec. 4, the City Council passed CB 22-0195, the Inclusionary Housing for Baltimore City Bill. Three days later, the Council approved the High-Performance Inclusionary Tax Credit Bill, CB 23-0369.
Both bills were supported and advocated by Baltimore City’s Inclusionary Housing Coalition (IHC), a diverse, nonpartisan grassroots group of 17 local organizations that have worked together to reinstitute an effective inclusionary law which produces units and promote fair, affordable housing for all. A complete list of coalition members can be found below.
The Inclusionary Housing for Baltimore City Bill requires any development with 20 or more units that is receiving or plans to apply for a significant public subsidy to reserve 10-15% of its units for households earning certain levels below the Baltimore area median income.
Both bills now await signing by Mayor Brandon Scott before they become law. The Mayor recently voiced support for both.
Char McCready, MIH’s Director of Housing serves as a coalition coordinator. “It is a bill that will help both low and moderate-income individuals,” said Char. “It will help working-class people like you and me. It will assist individuals with disabilities who have vouchers and increase access to families with individuals with developmental disabilities. This law will help marginalized populations move back to the city.”
MIH has played a significant role in the advancement of this legislation that will make housing opportunities more affordable for the people of Baltimore City.
Since May 2021, Char has been a key contributor for the past year and a half. During that time, she has helped build the coalition’s capacity. She recruited members of the coalition, keeping members informed about all aspects of the campaign and connecting with appropriate members and players within the legislation. Char is the coalition’s point of contact and works closely with Bill Sponsors Odette Ramos and City Council President Nick Mosby, the City Council, Mayor Brandon Scott and leaders in his administration. Along the way, Char has helped keep the coalition on one consistent message — Baltimore City deserves an effective inclusionary housing law that produces safe, affordable housing for all, now and into the future!
The diverse coalition is a collection of advocates, attorneys, former government officials, activists, community leaders, nonprofit developers, advocacy groups, fair housing advocates, faith leaders, organizers, executives and youth representatives. It includes a cornucopia of housing, disability advocates and unions. It is made up of a multitude of organizations and individuals throughout both Baltimore and Maryland that share the thought that all Baltimoreans have the right to live in affordable and inclusive housing.
In addition to Char’s contributions to the coalition, Sharonda Huffman, MIH’s previous Director of housing and leader of disability housing statewide has been integral to the success, making connections and sharing her personal story of attaining housing for her oldest son, who has IDD (Intellectual Development Disabilities). MIH Director of Communications Andy Krauss has lent his advocacy, media relations and social media skills to the coalition. Baltimore City Councilmember Phylicia Porter has attended MIH housing committee meetings to speak about accessible affordable housing for those with disabilities.
“MIH is very proud to have been a part of the coalition that has advocated for this landmark legislation passed by Baltimore City,” said MIH Executive Director Tim Wiens. “These bills will be critical in helping all Baltimoreans attain the housing they are entitled to. We are hoping this sets a precedent for other jurisdictions in the state so that all Marylanders have equal opportunities to live in affordable housing.”
“We have inspired other coalitions through advocacy,” added Char. “Hopefully, in the next year or two, we will start seeing the opportunities become available. We have built relationships.”
As MIH moves forward with its Baltimore initiative, the organization looks forward to strengthening its relationships with other coalition members that were built through the campaign.
IHC coalition organizations include 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, the Baltimore Ethical Society, Baltimore Renters Solidarity Coalition, Baltimore Renters United, Beyond the Boundaries, BRIDGE Maryland, Govans Ecumenical Development Corporation (GEDCO), Baltimore Historical Sharp Leadenhall, Community Development Network of Maryland, Job Opportunity Task Force, League of Women Voters Baltimore City, Marian House, Maryland Center on Economic Policy, Maryland Inclusive Housing (MIH), NAACP of Baltimore City, North East Housing Initiative (NEHI), Poppleton, Public Justice Center and the Southwest Partnership.