6:21 PM EDT, October 23, 2012
Steve Carter argued Oct. 11 that low-income housing in Columbia makes little sense ("Low-income housing does not belong in high-cost Columbia," letter). Perhaps Mr. Carter does not realize that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is required to increase affordable housing throughout the Baltimore region, which mirrors the founding goal of Columbia.
The case of Thompson vs. HUD filed in January 1995 ended with a partial consent decree. The court determined that HUD violated part of the Fair Housing Act through their failure to affirmatively promote fair housing by not providing affordable housing options in areas of lower poverty.
A related class action settlement is currently pending in the U.S. District Court of Maryland (No. MJG 95-309). This proposed settlement would require HUD to increase affordable housing choices in the Baltimore region. One step is incentives for private housing developers seeking FHA mortgage insurance to provide affordable multi-family housing throughout the Baltimore region.
Even if the development mentioned in Mr. Carter's article does not fall under the scope of this case, it fits James Rouse's vision for Columbia. A quote attributed to Mr. Rouse states his inclusive plan for Columbia: "There will be … roughly 30,000 houses and apartments at rents and prices to match the income of all who work there."
Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun