Over $660 Million for Affordable Housing

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 retained 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 16 years, AIM members have organized to create over $660 million of affordable housing stock in the Housing Initiative Fund. Even with these efforts, thousands more residents still cannot afford to live or retire in Montgomery County. AIM continues to keep affordable housing as a top priority until all people have affordable, safe and clean housing available to them.

In the News

AIM Plays Key Role in Fight to Get Smith and Wesson to Adopt Commonsense Gun Safety at Shareholders Meeting

AIM worked with Chief Manger, President of the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association, to support our national efforts in getting Smith and Wesson shareholders to vote for significant measures to improve safety and accountability for their firearms products. Click here to find out how AIM and the Industrial Areas Foundation won with Smith and Wesson and Sturm Ruger.

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Justice for Historic African-American Communities

The ribbon cutting to open the new Good Hope Neighborhood Recreation Center took place on Oct. 6 in the Good Hope neighborhood of Silver Spring, Md. Local officials, residents and community members all gathered to witness the opening of the last of the four centers located in historic African-American neighborhoods to undergo renovations in Montgomery County.

Good Hope along with Ross Boddy, Scotland and Plum Gar recreation centers were overlooked and neglected for many years and dating back to the 1990s, neighborhood leaders weren’t even able to get basic repairs done in the community centers. Centers were dealing with issues such as flooding and broken windows, according to social advocacy group, Action In Montgomery (AIM).

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Silver Spring apartment complex explosion survivors demand better treatment from Montgomery County

Click “READ MORE” to see the video of the action.

– Nearly two years after the August 10, 2016 blast that killed seven people at the Flower Branch Apartments in Silver Spring, survivors are demanding better support from the Montgomery County government.

Through advocacy organization Action in Montgomery (AIM), the group of survivors met to address their concerns Tuesday night at JoAnn Leleck at Broad Acres Elementary School.

Survivors told their stories about how they lost their possessions along with how they were physically and mentally scarred by the natural gas explosion. They said since the accident, they have been forced to pay higher rents, haven’t received adequate mental health treatment related to the trauma and that their opinions were left out of the 2016 county report that detailed the response to the tragedy.

Gustavo Zuniga spoke to the crowd, recounting how the roof fell inside his apartment, knocking him unconscious. He said the only reason that he is alive is because his wife was able to pull him from the rubble.

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Strong Commitments for Flower Branch Survivors

By Michelle Basch | @MBaschWTOP

SILVER SPRING, Md. — Nearly two years after a deadly explosion blew through the Flower Branch Apartments in Silver Spring, survivors have asked for more help as they continue trying to put their shattered lives back together.

The explosion and fire on Aug. 10, 2016, left 7 dead, dozens injured and dozens more displaced.

At a meeting organized by a group called Action in Montgomery and held at JoAnn Leleck Elementary School at Broad Acres Tuesday, several survivors described what they went through on the day of the tragedy, and what they’ve been dealing with since.

Maria Victoria Reyes said she was in her apartment with her daughter that night drinking coffee  when they heard a “rumble.”The ceiling fell down on them, covering them with burned debris and glass.

“My daughter and I could only see each other’s faces and the sky even though we were in the basement. We were covered up to our necks. We could not move,” she said in Spanish.

Victoria Reyes said the injuries she suffered left her unable to work even though she wants to provide for her family, and that it has affected her mental health.

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