To the Editor,
Last week, the County Executive introduced a bill to the Council that threatens all we’ve accomplished so far. Known as the “HOME Act,” this bill would force property owners to accept section 8 housing vouchers.
Under the bill, a landlord who chooses not to accept a housing voucher from a prospective tenant would be guilty of discrimination. Under a Conciliation Agreement signed by former County Executive Kamenetz, the legislation will be reintroduced every year until it passes. This bullying of Baltimore County by the Fed is a relic of Obama-era HUD policy.
If you look around the Seventh District, you will see all the signs of a community on the rise. Thousands of jobs return to the Point as it transitions from a former steel-making leader to a 21st century logistics and manufacturing leader poised to support generations to come.
Once vacant shopping centers fill up in Dundalk. In Rosedale, a Sky Zone trampoline park opened in the vacant building where Best Buy failed to compete in this new economy. In Essex, efforts are underway to revitalize the business corridor along Eastern Avenue. Literally billions of dollars of investment, public and private, are flowing into our community.
Additionally, communities across our district have formed associations and are meeting challenges head-on after years of neglect. They have risen to take back their neighborhoods, and our office continues to assist them by facilitating relationships with county agencies and ensuring their voices are no longer ignored in Towson.
Supporters of the HOME Act believe that by forcing property owners to accept vouchers would somehow disperse low income housing throughout the County. Our history here in southeast Baltimore County, where we have the second highest concentration of vouchers, shows that people use vouchers where property values are low, and are near their support systems, jobs, and families. Requiring property owners to accept vouchers means more vouchers in our district just when we are starting to turn the corner back to prosperity.
Many of us work hard to rebuild and clean up our neighborhoods and diligently maintain our properties. It is wrong to allow the Federal Government to force property owners into contracts which ultimately lower our property values and rob us of our efforts and achievements.
I voted against the HOME Act in the past, and I will continue to vote against it for as long as I hold this office.