Even before the pandemic, a stable supply of housing, including rentals, was driving an affordability crisis in many jurisdictions, including right here in Anne Arundel County. Safe and affordable housing is not only foundational to individuals’ and families well-being but also to a vibrant economy.
The LWVAAC has long been an advocate for affordable housing based on its studies of the issue and adoption of a policy position that supports action to secure affordable housing for low- and very low-income residents and special populations in the county. In 2021, the median household income of Anne Arundel County households was $108,048.
LWVAAC is a member of the 30-year-old Anne Arundel Affordable Housing Coalition (AAAHC). LWVAAC Director and Action Chair Abby Root is our League’s AAAHC liaison. In June, Abby attended a Coalition reception for member organizations and elected officials, including County Council members Julie Hummer (Dist. 4), Allison Pickard (Dist. 2), and Lisa Brannigan Rodvien (Dist. 6), who spoke of their support for more affordable housing in the county.
Generally, Coalition members are optimistic about the county’s fiscal year 2023-24 budget investments for affordable housing. Highlights include:
Dedicated Revenue Stream for Affordable Housing: Increases the taxation rate from 1% to 1.5% on property transfers valued greater than $1 million. Tax proceeds will fund the Anne Arundel County Affordable Housing Trust Fund, administered by Arundel Community Development Services Inc. (ACDS) on behalf of the county. Funding is intended for the development and redevelopment of affordable rental housing units.
Eviction Prevention: Increases support for the ACDS’s Eviction Prevention program.
Homeless Prevention: Provides $500,000 toward a rapid rehousing program managed by ACDS to assist residents facing immediate eviction or other emergency housing crises.
Going forward, the Coalition would like the county to invest in Moderately Priced Dwelling Units (MPDU) and group homes. #
By Kathy Larrabee, LWVAAC Director and Newsletter Editor
(reprint from September 2023 Voter)