The lack of affordable housing is one of the leading drivers of poverty and instability in Montgomery County and has always been a top priority for AIM. It is a burning issue that comes up over and over again in both individual meetings and listening sessions. In Montgomery County alone, it is estimated that the housing shortage is between 45,0000 and 60,000 units and is constantly growing. This means that tens of thousands of the very people who are employed by Montgomery County-teachers, nurses, firemen, grocery store clerks-can no longer afford to live in it.
In 2002, in order to address the growing affordable housing problem in Montgomery County, AIM leaders, clergy and congregations worked with County Executive Duncan and the County Council to put more money into the Housing Initiative Fund (HIF). This fund is used to give flexible loans and grants to builders of affordable housing. AIM leaders and our allies organized to raise the funding from the original $2 million to a peak of $54 million.While this proved a great success, in 2008 the spending was cut by $24 million. At an electoral assembly organize by AIM and our allies, County Executive Leggett promised to restore the fund to $54 million back into the HIF and to create 1,000 new units of affordable housing but when the budget was released in December, Leggett did not follow through. However, AIM leaders, clergy and congregations worked with the County Council to ensure the fund was not cut in a tight budget year.
AIM leaders, clergy and congregations have also ensured the County Council and County Executive hold affordable housing as a top priority through the Moderately Priced Housing Law. This law mandates that between 12.5% and 15% of new developments larger than 20 units must be made affordable. At Crown Farm in Gaithersburg, a developer bought the land to built apartments but petitioned the local government to not have to put in affordable units. AIM leaders organized to ensure the County Council members and Mayor Sydney Katz retain the affordable units despite the developer’s wishes to make himself more profitable.
Ultimately, AIM has been extremely successful in our efforts to increase the amount of affordable housing in Montgomery County. In the last 15 years alone, AIM members have organized to create over $490 million of affordable housing stock in the Housing Initiative Fund. Though, tens of thousands of Montgomery County workers and residents still cannot afford to live in the county. AIM members therefore continue to keep affordable housing as a top priority until all people have affordable, safe and clean housing available to them. Learn more about the current campaign here>>
In the News
Maryland IAF Marches on Homeland Security’s Baltimore Office
Chanting “Clarity! Compassion! No Confusion!” a group of about 50 Maryland immigration advocates marched from Baltimore City Hall to the local office of the Department of Homeland Security on Thursday to demand a meeting with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The group of community advocates and local clergy called on the agency to clarify its policies on detaining and deporting undocumented immigrants. They also asked for information on where those who are arrested are held and requested that immigration officers remove the word ‘POLICE’ from their uniforms, to better distinguish them from Baltimore Police.
Join us for a fun afternoon to raise money for AIM to expand the Dream Academy–affordable after school programming to Montgomery County’s highest needs schools. It’s a fun afternoon and a pretty walk along Sligo Creek with plenty of friends from AIM and our congregations and schools. Get friends, family and neighbors to sponsor you to have even more impact!
AIM Seniors Fight for Pensions for WMATA Workers–Montgomery Sentinel
“No matter what field you’re in, an employee with a good salary [and] benefits is a better employee and able to deliver better services,” Madaleno said. “Do you want a happy, focused bus driver driving 35 people around, or do you want an unhappy, distracted bus driver?”
About 75 people, many of them seniors, attended the news conference, which was hosted by local community organization Action in Montgomery at Church of the Ascension in Gaithersburg. AIM spokesperson Cynthia Marshall said the seniors traveled from retirement communities in the county to support their local bus drivers.