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Affordable housing, the reality

This video explains the current situation and my proposals to actually solve the affordable housing problem.

Below, I also discuss some of the issues and solutions:

I have been involved in work to protect affordable housing and tenant’s rights for more than 40 years. I’m the ONLY candidate being honest about the scope of the problem and offering solutions to address it. This isn’t just a housing issue — the failure to protect affordable housing will lead to the loss of our workforce with serious consequences for the economy. And what we’re currently doing is NOT working.


This is the reality we’re dealing with: 


Current policies require 12.5% to 15% of new development to be affordable to people earning about 55% to 70% of AMI (around $55,000-70,000 for 1 person) – these units are known as Moderately Priced Dwelling Units (MPDUs). And THAT'S IT.


Montgomery County is home to over 46,000 renters who are rent burdened, and most of them are spending 50-60% of their incomes on housing. Of all renters earning less than $75,000, 84% of them are rent burdened.   The renters earning under $50,000 make too LITTLE for our affordable housing programs – they are left out.  And there are only 6,700 MPDUs so most people do not get help.  As if this weren’t bad enough, we are projected to lose 11,000 of the remaining 22,000 naturally occurring affordable units by 2030. 


Yes, we have a crisis, but it’s very much an AFFORDABLE housing crisis.

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My opponents subscribe to the Koch Bros./American Enterprise Institute belief that simply building more market-rate housing will solve this problem – I don’t believe in TRICKLE-DOWN ECONOMICS, and if it were true the growth of market housing in this region beginning in the 1980s should have solved the affordability problem long ago. The truth is, we only get the affordable units we require, and our policies will not and cannot solve the problem.  We get at most 15% of the market units in a development for MPDUs – that’s 15 out of every 100.  And this is not just about lower-income people – younger people earning more than $75,000 who make too much for an MPDU but also make too little for the market rate units being produced in Bethesda right now.  Even people with incomes up to $100,000 struggle to find housing – our policies have failed.


On the other hand, my opponents want more subsidies for market developers, in other words, county taxpayers are expected to subsidize the market.  (Here's what I had to say.)


Here’s what we need to do:

  • preserve existing affordable units that are being lost at a rapid rate,

  • protect existing communities that are being displaced and/or priced out, and

  • produce more affordable housing — both through construction and requirements.


There are things we can do – enacting a no net loss policy to require preservation of the number of existing affordable units if properties are redeveloped and not allow existing residents to be displaced with redevelopment. I have already begun that when county resources are involved (See More Here!). We also need to expand the percentage of MPDUs required and extend the affordability guidelines to include units for a wider range of incomes between $30,000 and $100,000. We should also apply rent stabilization to units built before 2005 to protect against further loss of affordable units.  (MPDUs in buildings built before 2005 were allowed to expire after 20 years; they are then able to become market-rate units.) We need to build affordable housing on county property as well as partnering with developers who understand and want to address this deep-seated problem.  I have already begun projects that achieve these goals. See some of those projects here!

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