Baltimore City Mayoral Candidate Forum on Fair Development, Housing, Transportation, and Zero Waste

mayoral candidate forum

Last night, I called into the Baltimore City Mayoral Candidate Forum on Fair Development, Housing, Transportation, and Zero Waste Webex presentation to listen to what each candidate was proposing for each of these issues, but especially on homelessness, which has become a bigger crisis with the pandemic. In hindsight, I wish I would have taken notes on the other questions, because solutions for ending homelessness weaved throughout all of the answered questions, but below is each candidate’s response to how they would increase affordable housing and decrease homelessness in Baltimore City:

TJ Smith
  • He would look for areas of government waste and add the funds from them to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
  • He supports the Housing First model (and points out how it worked in other cities) and how it has worked with Restoration Gardens.
  • He pointed out the need to spread awareness that homelessness also includes people who don’t have a steady home and that it is a much more prolific problem than most people think.
  • He talked about creating a coalition of public, nonprofit, private stakeholders and using TIFs and Public Private Partnerships to increase affordable housing.
Brandon Scott
  • He supported and voted for $20 million to go into affordable trust fund and is going to have a big discussion about it with the Mayor and City Council when budget comes up.
  • He acknowledged that the city needs more affordable housing and needs to strengthen the inclusionary housing law – “needs to have teeth”
  • We need Housing First but housing is not enough – we need better approaches for substance abuse, harm reduction, mental health services
  • The city also needs to support the Fair Development Roundtable and Community Land Trusts
  • The city needs to take hard looks at revenue strings, building on what we have – “further, harder, faster”
Sheila Dixon
  • Said that she can name example after example of affordable housing that she worked on – Uplands, EDBI, Druid Heights, etc.
  • She believes the weakness in the city is that we build new systems with every mayoral administration. She pointed out a 10 year plan that she worked on that is collecting dust on the shelf.
  • We need amendment for revenue in Affordable Housing trust fund – “People wanna talk with no action”
  • She is not familiar with Fair Development Roundtable’s plan
  • She sees a need for creativity in inclusionary housing
Thiru Vignarajah
  • He knew that the lack of money going into the Affordable Housing Trust Fund was predictable because the city law left loophole because transferring property from LLCs doesn’t trigger tax transfer fees. We need to fix the loophole.
  • The city has all of these commitments on paper but nothing gets done
  • He calls out Sheila for claiming everything good as her victory and said that the people who benefited most from affordable housing were the people lining her pockets
Mary Miller
  • $20 mill a year to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund isn’t enough
  • We need to fix the LLC transfer tax loophole
  • She commits to fixing 10,000 homes over 4 years and to prioritize local workers and small developers to do so
  • Wants to use Community Land Trusts more for affordable housing and pointed to ReBuild Metro as an example
  • We should be using closed schools for transitional housing during the pandemic
  • We need more housing for homelessness and wants to know why aren’t we doing more for the ~15,000 people on the public housing 5 year wait list


Unfortunately, I don’t believe this was recorded, but if I found out that it was, I’ll post the link here.

If you’ve read any of my posts in the past, you’ll notice that the URL is different. In the midst of this pandemic, I realized that I wanted to seriously take time to write more about housing and homelessness as well as transportation, history, and other urban planning topics. Thus, was born. The road enthusiast community gave me the nickname Mrs. Maryland Roads because my husband is Mr. MD Roads, named for the website he began in 1998.

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