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2017 Federal Legislation to Watch

H.R.614 – To require each owner of a dwelling unit assisted under the section 8 rental assistance voucher program to remain current with respect to local property and school taxes and to authorize a public housing agency to use such rental assistance amounts to pay such tax debt of such an owner, and for other Read more about 2017 Federal Legislation to Watch[…]

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The Gutting of American Government

By now you’ve probably heard the news that two Republican legislators have introduced bills in both the House and Senate that would remove funding for HUD’s assessment tools and tracking/database capabilities. This is a dangerous move for two reasons: This data is used by researchers across the country, along with state and local governments, and Read more about The Gutting of American Government[…]

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Republican Lawmakers Attempt to Gut Fair Housing Act of 1968

Background Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Congressman Paul Gosar (R-Arizona) have introduced bills in the Senate (text is not yet available) and House (full PDF) that would effectively gut the Fair Housing Act of 1968 by allowing exclusionary zoning, based on the neighborhood’s “distinct values”, which is nothing more than badly disguised code for a Read more about Republican Lawmakers Attempt to Gut Fair Housing Act of 1968[…]

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Amendment to Baltimore’s New Zoning Code: OPPOSE

The Baltimore City Council will vote on an amendment* to Transform Baltimore TODAY that will: Forbid new tavern licenses or alcohol sales within 300 feet of a residence, school, church, park, or other tavern or liquor store. This makes any new liquor stores or bars illegal as a part of a new mixed use development, Read more about Amendment to Baltimore’s New Zoning Code: OPPOSE[…]

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Moderate Income Housing Tax Credit: Support

We’ve long been champions for being proactive through public policy that can help to prevent the downward financial spiral faced by so many middle-income families across our city, and have found that high rental housing costs in the Baltimore metro region are the the reason why so many people are having difficulty getting a handle Read more about Moderate Income Housing Tax Credit: Support[…]

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Bandit Signs: The New Blockbusting

“I wish they wouldn’t post those here, they make our neighborhood look trashy.” I hear this a lot about bandit signs — those “WE BUY HOUSES” signs that pop up like toadstools after a storm. And yes, they do make a neighborhood look trashy. But even worse — they’re the new tool for blockbusting. For Read more about Bandit Signs: The New Blockbusting[…]

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Maryland Renters’ Tax Credit: Deadline September 1

The Renters’ Tax Credit is currently only available to low-income and/or senior renters.  However, our legislators did do something positive on this front during this year’s legislative session — the credit has been increased from $750 to $1000. HB340 was signed into law by Governor Hogan in May. If you think you might qualify for Read more about Maryland Renters’ Tax Credit: Deadline September 1[…]

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Putting Out the Affordable Housing Fire

The Problem Baltimore’s current affordable housing crisis is yet another fire our government has to put out — despite it smoldering for years, turning into a full blaze right around the same time as the housing bubble and subsequent “bust”, leaving thousands in foreclosure and unable to afford steadily rising rents. Many cities are faced Read more about Putting Out the Affordable Housing Fire[…]

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The New Redlining

People love data. Numbers. They paint a different, more succinct picture than words sometimes, and they can be turned into maps, infographics, and other visuals that have a bigger, faster impact. However, numbers can be manipulated in a way that allows governments and corporations to create policies that keep poor people away from things that Read more about The New Redlining[…]

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Solution: Close the Tax Sale Loophole

With all of the recent discussion around collapsing vacants, negligent property owners, and the city’s tax sale system, there has been a lot of hand-wringing (and rightfully so, as someone was killed the other day when a vacant collapsed on a man while he was sitting in his car) and mutterings about tax sale foreclosures Read more about Solution: Close the Tax Sale Loophole[…]