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The Dripby Brew Editors8:35 amMar 15, 20160

Baltimore County pledges $30 million to help integrate housing

It’s been going on for decades. Will today’s settlement with Baltimore County result in “meaningful steps” to end housing discrimination against low-income blacks in the county?

Above: Newly-constructed housing in Towson. (rentdigs.com)

Baltimore County officials will announce today an agreement to spend $30 million over the next 10 years to encourage developers to build affordable housing units in the county.

The agreement settles a federal housing discrimination complaint filed in 2011 by the Baltimore County chapter of the NAACP, Baltimore Neighborhoods, Inc., and three county residents. The complaint accused the county of perpetuating segregation by not implementing policies to expand affordable housing in higher-income neighborhoods.

The settlement targets 116 census tracts where the county is expected to take “meaningful steps” to encourage private developers to build affordable housing. As part of the process, the county has agreed to commit $30 million to “incentivize” such construction.

Today’s agreement – to be announced, among others, by Gustavo Velasquez, assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – also calls on County Executive Kevin Kamenetz to introduce legislation in the County Council that would prohibit landlords from refusing to rent to tenants with Section 8 federal rental vouchers.

Strongly opposed by developers and landlords, such legislation is given little chance of winning Council approval. Under the agreement, future county executives are obligated to introduce the same legislation until it or a state law passes.

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