Support a Baltimore Co-housing Initiative
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The Intentional Community Building Collective (ICBC) is working to create co-housing in West Baltimore. The outcome of ICBC's cooperative housing development project will be a walkable neighborhood with a variety of housing options and shared community spaces which will include an urban farm, gathering spaces and a micro enterprise hub of retail, office and light manufacturing spaces. We have encountered a number of challenges throughout this process which is a common experience for individuals or small groups who attempt to redevelop properties in Baltimore.
Currently, city government has a few programs designed to attract and retain residents and to streamline deposition of city owned vacant parcels to eventually replacement blight with bustling blocks. However these programs seem to favor helping established developers market their new projects or helping them acquire properties for their next project. There is little to no support for individual or small groups of residents want to take advantage of the acquisition of vacant properties below market rate and making them livable again. Creating a Baltimore Co-housing Initiative within city government could be a means to solving this disparity. The initiative could be a part of the Office of Neighborhoods and Constituent Services, the Sustainability Commission, Planning or Housing Department or the Vacants to Value Program.
The Baltimore Co-housing Initiative would:
- socialize co-housing as tool for housing development
- facilitate the formation of Co-housing groups
- provide technical assistance with development activities including forming developer and contractor partnerships, streamlining city owned parcel sales to groups, assistance with zoning and housing code issues
- match groups with available funding streams for housing, community and small business development
- secure partnerships with industry leaders in green sustainable or shared transportation, energy or communication products and services in the home sector
The initiative can be funded through proceeds from the Affordable Housing Loan and Community and Economic Development Loan bond issues as well as the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Additionally, because of the innovative nature of Co-housing funding can be sought from corporate or institutional givers interested in projects that are using state of the art design, construction and infrastructure elements in community revitalization project. For more detailed information on ICBC's proposed Baltimore Co-Housing Initiative, please check the pinned post on ICBC's Facebook page.
We would like to encourage the elected officials of Baltimore City to provide support and technical assistance to residents who want to conceive of and lead community redevelopment in their neighborhoods. Please sign our petition and let city government know you support the development of A Baltimore Co-housing Initiative. Let our voice be heard!
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