Councilmen propose task force to fix Baltimore's struggling inclusionary housing program

9,000 new apartment units built in Baltimore, but just 32 for the poor

City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young and Councilman Bill Henry are calling for the creation of a new task forced aimed at fixing Baltimore's struggling inclusionary housing program.

In 2007, city officials enacted an Inclusionary Housing Program to address a lack of quality affordable housing in the city. But eight years later, only 32 affordable units have been constructed through the program, city officials said.

To address the problem, the councilmen are proposing a 13-member panel to review the program, and propose legislation to improve it. The panel will include the mayor's housing commissioner, president of the Baltimore Development Corporation, chair of the city's inclusionary housing board, a representative of the Public Justice Center, and two community members, among others.

"I feel we need to get a task force back together to make sure the developers are putting some money in," Young said. "It's not meeting the goals. We have to give developers a lot of subsidies to do it. Those days are over. They have to put skin in the game."

The Baltimore Sun reported last year that inclusionary housing program was floundering in Baltimore.

The pace of apartment construction in Baltimore has reached new heights in recent years, with 9,000 new units completed since 2010 — many at luxury high-rises around the harbor and downtown. But just four of those projects include units for low- or moderate-income families, despite the city law that advocates hoped would make developers reserve a portion of new housing projects for the needy.

lbroadwater@baltsun.com

Twitter.com/lukebroadwater

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