Housing Committee Meeting April 12th, 2018
Meeting called to order 7:10pm
1. Welcome and Introductions: Diana extended welcome to all new people and introductions of attendees. Thanks to those who helped with the housing fair. Introductions of presenters and announcement of items on agenda.
There will be no sub committee reports from the Outreach Committee and Center West due to full agenda.
Open invite to suggest speakers or subjects for discussion.
2. Review of Minutes from March Meeting: March minutes were reviewed and approved.
3. Presentation: Baltimore Neighborhoods Inc:
- Tenant Landlord Program: runs a hotline which answers questions about tenant and landlord rights and responsibilities.
- Products: They also sell a large guidebook on all the State laws.
- Fair Housing Department: Assists those who have been discriminated against. It helps walk individuals through the process of filing complaints concerning discrimination. They also investigate complaints. Many calls come from people with disabilities who are having disputes concerning things to help them in their home.
- Education and Outreach to present for those who would like to have them speak to groups and share information. It is a free service.
- About 2 hours for Tenants Rights. 1 hour present and 1 hour questions
- How to read a lease.
- The hotline is 410-243-6007 Local for Baltimore or 1-800-487-6007. 9am-5:30pm Monday-Friday. Online www.bni-maryland.org/Ask-A-Specialist.html
- Available to those in public housing also, although help would be limited, they can offer information concerning situations and the legality.
- Offer to anyone wanting to volunteer to be a tester.
4. 20/20 Campaign: Maura, Intern with United Workers. Calling on Mayor to budget 20 million dollars for the deconstruction of vacants to create green space. And 20 Million to create affordable housing. Community Driven Development is the end goal. 2016 Ballot Initiative for affordable housing trust fund in the city with a commission to oversee it was approved by the voters. Collected 18k signatures. On March 22nd, they received a commitment of only 2 million dollars to go into the trust fund.
- Fund the Trust Act: Get a funding source for the affordable housing trust fund. Trying to break away from the municipal budget as it is difficult to fund from the city. It would generate about 20 million annually through a one-time 1% surcharge on the transfer of real property interests by for-profit owners, businesses and trusts.
- Funds are allowed to be used for housing services, such as for aging that need assistance in installing needed things in their house and make repairs.
- Press Conference and Hearing on Monday April 16th 4pm at Baltimore city hall to get attention towards getting interest in the trust fund.
- There are postcards which can be filled out in a mailing campaign to the council members.
- The Affordable Housing Trust Commission should be getting set up in the next few months. The members are appointed by the mayor. Made up of professionals and city residents.
- The referendum. We voted to support the 20/20 campaign. Was supposed to be on the ballot on the November ballot, so that the city would be authorized to issue municipal bonds. General obligations bonds was one of the original asks. What happened was at the Board of Estimates, the allocation was at 3 million and it was increased 15 million. It went to parks and rec and beautification around the city. The bond allowances are set two years in advance. 2020 and 2021, we now have $5 million dollars of bonds for affordable housing. Petition campaign last year was a strategic move to show public support. When we were originally made aware of this referendum, it was understood that the bonds would be available as a source of funds for projects in the city. This was not the case. Possibly a miscommunication. There are two different affordable housing funds. Mayor has final say on the budget. They felt that bonds would be a sustainable funding source for the trust fund. They now would have to wait until 2022 for this to be possible. It has been suggested that we have back the gentlemen who spoke to us in the past to explain what happened with the 2020 Campaign.
- They are looking for a commitment from the housing committee to be supporters for the Fund the Trust Act Council Legislation. In order to utilize the Southwest Partnership Organization’s name, it would have to be voted on by the Board of Directors on Tuesday April 17th, 2018.
- Suggested to make a presentation at the board meeting on Tuesday Night.
- Asked that the bill be sent out to the housing committee for review before we make a decision to pass on to the board.
- Affordable Trust Fund is to develop, maintain, and steward affordable housing in the city of Baltimore. Individuals that make 50% of Area Median Income qualify for assistance.
- Chose to table this at this time until we may review further information.
5. Housing Proposals: BRNI was funded and Community Legacy was funded. CORE was not funded this year. It will be funded next year. CORE was not included in the budget. It was mandated to fund CORE starting July 2019. Hopefully we will be back in progress next year.
a. 2019 State Applications for Funding: A 90 day window of putting proposals together, which was supposed to open April 11th, was reduced to a 30 day window and now the computer system is not working. They hope that they will begin working on the 17th. They are not extending the deadline.
- Gating – 100,000
- Facades – 100,000
- Small Grants– 75,000
- Operating – 120,000
- Planning – Head Building of Hollins Market – International Village – 75,000
- Housing – 1,000,000
- Unit Mount St –
- Pratt and Mount St – Social Impact Group
- Fayette St – Homes Free USA
- 1300 W Pratt St – Homes Free USA
- SoWeBo Athletic Authority – 30,000
- Seed Athletic Teams Fields
- Signage – 50,000
- Malaki Mills Museum – 20,000
- For stabilization
- Black Cherry Theater – 20,000
b. Venroy July – State is reviewing the request for funding for the unit block of S Schroeder Street
c. State gave ok to move forward with 1606 and 1608 Pratt St although the other houses in the block will remain in receivership past the deadline for use of fund.
d. N. Stricker street is in the budget.
e. 1420 W. Baltimore St – the 0wner has informed the city that she is meeting with a developer on April 24th to make a presentation for a joint venture.
f. 1503-1513 Mario Lloyd and Michael Rock Projects are progressing.
g. Baltimore Theater is hopefully proceeding.
- Put on a new roof and take down the façade and make a down payment on the property.
- We are waiting to hear back from Mr. Clark.
6. Aging in Place:
- HUBS: Chelsea works on housing upgrades for seniors, primarily homeowners 65 or older. It allows them to make modifications for safety and allow them to stay in their home.
- They have not done a lot of outreach in Southwest Baltimore. The various community associations will be contacted to arrange for HUBS presentations.
- BNI Housing Fair: Collington Square Neighborhood. Seniors may require transportations. Several resources will be there concerning modifications, repairs, and accommodations for seniors in regard to aging in place.
- We hope to host a BNI housing fair in our community
- Lack of Senior Center. COIL lost funding and the senior center closed about 10 years ago. There was historically a senior center in our community. We can make a case that there is a Federal Obligation that is not being met due to Title 3 which funds services to support seniors. It has gone to fund senior centers mostly. It provides guidelines and some funding for seniors. It funds approx. 13 senior centers around the city including the center in Mt. Vernon. The closest is Baker St in Sandtown which is not easily accessible for most of our seniors. We would like to ask for funding for a senior center to serve our 7 neighborhoods.
- Suggestion that we utilize the schools for more neighborhood uses. This may be a valuable resource.
- We should address the appropriate  that should be handling these needs and show that the seniors in our 7 neighborhoods are underserved.
7. Tax Sales – Tax Sales List is getting shorter as people pay their taxes to the city. Kudos to Scott Kashnow to pull the database and then broke it down by neighborhood. He compared to city code map to find which were vacant. About a 10% error rate. Reduces number of properties to review. There was a commitment from the city last year that if we could present properties that we have a use for, we would have the opportunity to have it pulled from public auction. We would have the opportunity to foreclose on those properties.
- Clare has the most vacants, followed by Franklin Square, then Pigtown, and Union Square.
- Of the 50 houses identified in Pigtown that we would like to acquire, over half are on the tax sale list.
- If this process is followed, we would have no competition as there would be no opposing bids. We would be able to go to foreclosure on the vacants we would like to acquire within 6 months.
- In order to acquire these properties, Michael Seipp is applying for a loan to make it possible and then pass on to a developer to redevelop.
- Southwest Partnership Office Saturday 9am -11am to review the list of properties before being submitted to the neighborhoods.
- At the May meeting we need to pass a resolution to submit it to the city.
8. New Business/Old Business:
- Maryland Renters Tax Credit Program: Low Income Renters can get money back even if they don’t pay taxes. Suggestion to have them coming to make a presentation. They will be at the resource fair on April 28th.
- Green Network Plan which includes expansion of Traci Atkins Park and additional park in Franklin Square. Open for comment until the end of the month at http://greennetwork.civicomment.org
- Sustainability Plan was just released as a draft. Have until the end of April to review.
- Undesign the Redline by Designing the We – May 12th the exhibit opens at the Biopark on 801 W. Baltimore St. and will be followed by an event concerning the discussion of race. The discussion panel is made up of several professionals.
- April 28th, the workforce committee is organizing a fair for people to access job resources and there is a general call for volunteers.