WASHINGTON, DC – (RealEstateRama) — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced a settlement agreement with Baltimore County, Maryland to expand affordable housing in higher opportunity areas throughout the County. The settlement will serve as a catalyst to promote housing mobility and to assist the County and its surrounding areas in developing comprehensive affordable housing planning and strategies that address residential segregation.
The groundbreaking agreement commits $30 million over 10 years to develop at least 1,000 affordable housing units for low- and very low-income residents. In addition, the County will provide 2,000 Housing Choice Vouchers through a housing mobility program to assist families to gain access to higher opportunity neighborhoods. At least one-third of the affordable units created under the agreement will be accessible and made available to people with disabilities. The agreement also calls for the introduction of a county ordinance that would support source of income legislation. Read the full agreement.
Today’s agreement is the result of a complaint filed with HUD in November 2011 by the Baltimore County Branch of the NAACP, Baltimore Neighborhoods, Inc., a private non-profit fair housing organization, and three individuals, claiming that the County: 1) had not developed affordable housing in areas other than those that were concentrated by race and poverty; 2) focused only on providing rental housing for seniors rather than families; 3) adequate numbers of accessible units were unavailable to people with disabilities; and 4) its actions had failed to affirmatively further fair housing.
“Every person deserves a fair shot at opportunity and that starts with a decent, safe, and affordable place to call home,” said Secretary Julián Castro. “This agreement sets Baltimore County on a path to stronger, more inclusive communities where everyone can enjoy equal access to opportunity. Many thanks to all involved for coming together to expand housing choice in the County.”
Under the terms of the agreement announced today, Baltimore County will:
- Invest $3 million annually for 10 years to create 1,000 affordable housing units through new construction or rehabilitation. The units will be geographically dispersed in neighborhoods that provide access to opportunity. At least 500 of the units will have three or more bedrooms to accommodate families with children and atleast one-third of the units will be accessible and made available to people with disabilities. The units must be completed over a period of 12 years.
- Provide Housing Choice Vouchers to at least 2,000 families that will increase access to affordable housing across the county.
- Ensure all of its units comply with the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act, and will provide an additional $300,000 annually for 10 years to finance structural modifications to make other affordable housing units in Baltimore County accessible.
- Proactively market the units to potential tenants who are least likely to apply, including African Americans families and families with a member who has a disability. The County will also run a mobility counseling program to offer expanded housing opportunities to families.
- Seek the enactment of legislation that prohibits discrimination based on source of income.
- Pay the three individual claimants $150,000 in monetary relief.
People who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed at www.hud.gov/fairhousing or by downloading HUD’s free housing discrimination mobile application, which can be accessed through Apple and Android devices.
HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.
More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet
at www.hud.gov and http://espanol.hud.gov.