Housing Questionnaire Candidate Response: Sharon McCullough

Sharon McCullough (D) is running for State Delegate, District 45.

Baltimore City has 30,000+ vacant homes. Do you have additional ideas 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?

First, I strongly believe that Baltimore City Housing leaders have some great initiatives already in place and as a new delegate I do not claim to have all the answers; however, I have some ideas that I think could work, for example:

  • building relationships and not reinventing the wheel is a sound initial practice
  • building and strengthening the current partnership that will yield cost-effective and positive returns on our investments.

Therefore, before launching a plan, I would prefer to establish a working relationship/partnership with our housing leaders and utilize our existing resources to strengthen and improve our communities. Once funds are identified and budgets are assessed we can re-evaluate the current processes to develop solutions to improve our communities.

The two fastest-growing income groups in Baltimore are those who earn $75,000 and up, and those who earn $25,000 and below. Middle-income families, who earn approximately $41,000, are 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?

In order to keep median-income families in our city, I believe our first priority is to help with public safety and educational initiatives. Unfortunately, many of the improvements and conveniences that provide leverage to attract this population to stay weigh heavily on our public safety, educational challenges (environmental and safety), and overall affordable housing. Once I’m a legislator, I would like to be at the table with the housing leaders as we together develop a strategic plan to find them affordable housing because I can remember the days as a single young parent most of my/their monies go towards household expenses, possible childcare, possible travel and other necessities to live at a level to maintain. Educating and encouraging my communities to utilize existing resources and services that are accessible and user-friendly.

How do you plan to address lead paint poisoning in our city, a problem that has a disparate impact on low-income Black families?

As I recall, lead paint was banned in the late 70’s. If there is no measurable or notable decline, we as a team (legislators and housing leaders) may need to review our practices and policies. This is an initiative that may call for stronger regulation and enforcement as well as educating and empowering families with a holistic approach to prevention and intervention.

Is there anything else voters should know about your approach to affordable and safe housing?

My goal is to create short-term results that will last and are cost effective. Again, as a new delegate who is results-oriented, a team player, and an individual that holds integrity in high regard, will listen to my constituents and seek the expertise of housing leaders as a means for us to meet at the table to analyze our current practices and seek best opportunities for providing affordable and safe housing for our communities.