Affordable Housing: Less Is More In Baltimore

Perkins Homes Project Buildings, Baltimore, Maryland.

Many private/public partnerships to build affordable housing do not pass the smell test with their handfuls of affordable houses or apartments in projects numbering hundreds of market rate or luxury homes. We smell profit, boosted along by city fees, LIHTC tax credits or other government incentives. Nothing meaningful is being added to the enormity of the affordable housing crisis.

Baltimore has an ambitious new urban renewal plan called the Perkins Transformation Project. They plan to tear down dilapidated social housing buildings known as the Perkins Homes Complex. Oh no! Here we go again, guaranteed to be more market rate accommodation and less affordable by the time all this is done.

But no, the Perkins Transformation Project will tear down approximately 710 apartments occupied by the poor, and replace them with 752. As well, they will be building further affordable and market rate accommodation. Tthis certainly sounds like a step in the right direction!

The project ticks some other important boxes as well. For example, it directly addresses the challenge of urban renewal while maintaining affordable accommodation in the inner city.

Needless to say, the project has its critics, including those who are concerned that somehow, once again, the poor will be shafted in service of every other class and skin color in Baltimore, a consequence of gentrification slowly seeping into the city from the city’s harborfront renewal districts.

Read about it for yourself in The Baltimore Sun: Baltimore officials plan to seek up to $100M subsidy for East Baltimore development plan

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