City Council President Candidate Jack Young on Housing

Jack Young is currently the City Council President, and is running to keep his seat. His answers to the housing questionnaire appear below, with no edits:

Baltimore City has 30,000+ vacant homes. Do you have a plan to direct the City Council for cleaning up the blight that isn’t a rehash or continuation of previous plans? And how do you propose to pay for your plan?

As President of the City Council, I have led and supported efforts to increase fines and streamline code enforcement for vacant properties. I believe strongly that the efforts that utilize higher fines and streamlined code enforcement should be continued. However, more needs to be done to help rebuild Baltimore’s communities and if elected for another term as City Council President, I intend to continue identifying and implementing legislative initiatives that provide City agencies with the tools they need to clean up blight in Baltimore City.

Additionally, city resources used in response to privately owned blight and abandoned properties must be paid for by those owners. Whether it’s fees for services like boarding or grass cutting, legal fees incurred by the city when filing for receivership, or the issuance citations and fines, the City Council must ensure that the Housing Department and administration have the tools to recoup those costs from the owners of abandoned properties.

The two fastest-growing income groups in Baltimore are those who earn $75,000 and up, and those who earn $25,000 and below. The middle class in Baltimore is stagnating, and struggling to afford rental housing. How do you propose to keep median-income renters from leaving the city without pushing them into homeownership they may not want or be able to afford?

Baltimore City must have an effective inclusionary housing law that creates affordable housing units. In 2006, as the 12th District Council Representative, I sponsored the city’s first inclusionary housing law. Over the last decade, the City has learned many lessons in how to create affordable housing units. I am currently working with colleagues – and will continue to work in the future – to develop a comprehensive, successful affordable housing policy for Baltimore City. If reelected, I intend to continue my efforts to secure the passage of legislative initiatives that encourage the creation of affordable rental housing units for Baltimore residents.

Our Housing Authority has a decades-long reputation for corruption and incompetence at its top leadership tier. How do you plan to address this?

The Housing Department and Housing Authority leadership is appointed by the Mayor and can only be fired by the Mayor. Other than the ability to confirm or deny an executive nomination brought the Mayor, the City Council has very little authority. All the Democratic mayoral candidates have indicated they would install new leadership in the City’s two Housing agencies. If elected for another term as City Council President, I look forward to working with the new Mayor and their administration as they re-appoint or replace agency and department heads.

Is there anything else voters should know about your approach to housing in Baltimore?

If reelected President of the City Council for another term, I will continue my work in ensuring that all residents of Baltimore City have adequate and safe housing and are living in a City with a regulatory environment that is fair and protects tenants and homeowners alike.

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