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“Nationals October 2019

Understanding the potential future of Annapolis’ affordable housing policy

| October 05, 2020, 04:57 PM

Rams Head

Annapolis’ affordable housing program only earned a total of $1 million over the last six years, according to a report to the city council. In a city where new homes can cost over $1 million, this is insufficient. Fortunately, reconstructions that have been planned since 2019 have broken ground at Newtowne. More projects in other areas are to follow soon.

Ineffective Housing Plan Scrapped

Annapolis’ housing program, Moderately Priced Dwelling Unit Program, has been in effect since 2004. Until its overhaul in 2019, the program had only produced ten homes for sale, alongside 18 units for rent. After much deliberation, they scrapped the plan and immediately drew up a replacement in 2019. Now, we are finally seeing the city government make good on its promise of affordable housing for lower-income families.

The main snag that the program hit was the option for developers to pay a fee instead of putting up units for sale or rent at affordable prices. This fee, which amounted to 4% of the cost of construction, was not enough to support the government’s own housing activities. Also, allowing developers to avoid putting up affordable units ultimately led to lower output for the program. In the alternative plan, the city has removed the fee altogether. Further, they required developers to put up at least 15% of all their units for rent or sale at low price points.

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Rams Head

New Plans Drawn Up And Now In Motion 

Back in July, the Annapolis housing authority conducted a public hearing on the 5-year plan for the new housing policy. Detailed in the hearing were capital funding, operational policy, and home services. It also tackled self-sufficiency opportunities and quality of life improvements. The housing authority did announce that the housing authority is to begin the demolition of aging properties. This is in order to make room for better, more affordable housing units.

breakdown of the capital funding program was also listed, totaling around $2.5 million per year. The inclusive budget has allocations for appliances, furniture, and other necessary items. It also has budget allotments to hire professionals for property improvements. These include servicing from roof-patchers and Maryland land clearing firms.

The Future Of The Housing Effort 

At the moment, the median home prices in Annapolis sit at $530,000, with a predicted increase of 19.2% year-over-year. The city housing authority hopes that the revamped program will make it easier to house lower-income families despite these numbers. Meanwhile, more options are being looked at to increase the availability of affordable housing.

Some city council candidates support revisiting an accessory dwelling unit bill, which was withdrawn a few months ago. It proposed to push even small residential developments to rent or sell some units at affordable prices. Others advocate for giving affordable housing residents access to more advanced accommodations. These include things such as affordable internet connections. Officials believe this will serve to further the economic capabilities of low-income residents. This is especially pertinent in a time when work from home is strongly encouraged.

With the fruition of new housing plans comes new hope for Annapolis’ residents. If proven effective, the city may well supply its citizens with enough economical housing solutions for decades to come.

Rams Head

Category: Local News, NEWS

About the Author - Stephanie Fahie

Stefanie is a local blogger and social media content marketer from Maryland. She has an unhealthy obsession with puns, sarcasm and caffeinated beverages. She can usually be found on a baseball field!

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