On Oct. 3 Councilwoman Odette Ramos (D- District 14) led stakeholders and community members in a rally to advocate for inclusionary housing. The old Inclusionary Housing Law has expired and the council failed to renew it before June. (Courtesy Photo)

By Tashi McQueen, AFRO Political Writer,
Report For America Corps Member,

“Through rain or shine,” Councilwoman Odette Ramos (D-MD-14) told the AFRO that the inclusive housing rally would happen –and that it did.

The rally was created to further awareness of inclusive and equitable housing and demand Council Bill 22-0195 be passed. Ramos created the bill and pushed for an amended version on June 22 which did not go into effect.

“This has been a 15-year commitment and it feels like we’re back at square one,” said Ramos at the rally. “We are awaiting a hearing.”

On Oct. 3, the rally saw a great turnout. It featured a host of collaborators such as SEIU 1199, a healthcare workers union, and Beyond the Boundaries, an affordable housing initiative in Baltimore.

Supporters chanted “stop the stall,” a stall which left Baltimore without an active inclusionary law, leaving residents vulnerable.

“The City is out of compliance with our commitment to further fair housing since the inclusionary program expired without our bill,” said Ramos in a newsletter. “We have several amendments and we look forward to a hearing.”

Councilmembers Zeke Cohen (D-MD-01) and Mark Conway (D-MD-04) attended to support the legislation.

Ramos’ renewing bill adds enforcement of the law, requires subsidy receivers to incorporate inclusionary housing units, removes waivers and requires annual reporting to the Baltimore City Council by the inclusionary board.

The Baltimore City Council president’s office provided a statement on the matter.

“The Inclusionary Housing bill is part of Council President Mosby’s House Baltimore legislative agenda. In 2014, then Councilmember Mosby worked on similar legislation and was excited to continue his commitment to inclusionary housing, as President, by drafting this bill and selecting Councilwoman Ramos as the sponsor,” read the statement. “Our office will continue to work with the administration and Councilwoman Ramos to ensure Baltimore receives a robust and scalable inclusionary housing law we can all be proud of. We eagerly await the administration, particularly the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), for feedback and agency reports.”

Help us Continue to tell OUR Story and join the AFRO family as a member – subscribers are now members!  Join here!