In 2016, thousands of community members raised their voices in support of the Affordable Housing Trust Fund—a bill that would require public investment in affordable housing. With 180,000 Baltimore City residents voting favorably for the fund, it passed without a hitch. But without a sustainable funding stream, the fund itself sat empty for nearly two years.
Friday, August 10 marked the turning point. Thanks to strong grassroots advocacy from the community (including YOU) and a strong coalition, the mayor and city council leaders agreed to ensure funding for the Trust Fund! Next up: The (newly ammended) Fund the Trust Act comes to a vote this fall, where its passage will guarantee that the city will begin putting money into the Trust, starting in 2019 and reaching $20 million annually by 2023.
This groundbreaking decision comes at a crucial time. Currently, over half of our fellow Baltimore residents spend 30% or more of their income on rent alone, which does not leave much for basic needs such as food, clothing, childcare or health services. An ongoing investment in affordable housing will bring our neighbors experiencing homelessness one step closer to better health and long-term stability.
How will it work? According to The Baltimore Sun, money will be sourced from:
- Excise taxes on certain real estate transactions = $13 million
- Allocations given by the Mayor = starting at $2 million in 2020 and increasing to $7 million by 2023
- From 2023 onward, the city will invest an annual total of $20 million for affordable housing.
What could $20 million a year do?
- Provide 4,120 affordable housing opportunities
- Protect 4,670 households from eviction
- Rehabilitate 1,596 vacant properties
View the full breakdown from the Baltimore Housing Roundtable here.
What's next? According to United Workers, next steps for this historic legislation include:
- The agreement will be memorialized and celebrated in a Memorandum of Understanding and at a press conference within the next 30 days.
- A hearing for the new Fund the Trust Act is scheduled to take place on September 27.
- The legislation is expected to be approved by the council, signed by the mayor and made effective by January 1, 2019.
Housing activist, Baltimore Housing Roundtable member and major contributor to this success, Destiny Watford, told The Baltimore Sun that, “This is an agreement that came from the power of the residents on the ground.”
Her words ring true as we celebrate the power of grassroots advocacy and an ongoing commitment from you to support housing for our neighbors experiencing homelessness.