Home Ownership & Vacancy Reduction
Homeownership needs to be accessible and affordable for every resident. Baltimore City has almost 15,000 vacant homes. We have more than 3,000 people sleeping on the streets every night. We have thousands more living on rental assistance. As your delegate, I will work to make homeownership affordable and maximize assistance dollars to build pipelines to homeownership and invest in the significant housing stock that Baltimore has while making sure we all have a chance to build equity for our families. This means moving from rental subsidies to home-ownership subsidies and financing the rehabilitation of vacants into affordable homes. Increasing homeownership rates creates stability, equity, increases the tax base, improves school funding, and drives citywide growth.
The mass incarceration status quo has to change. Low-level drug offenses should be met with addiction treatment, job training, and education, not with jail time. Too many children have parents taken from them because of the overly punitive nature of our criminal justice system. I will work hard to reduce the number of our young men and women that get sent away every day because of addiction, lack of opportunity, and systemic injustice.
And there are seemingly endless barriers for advancement for our residents moving through the criminal justice system. High bail and difficulty of expungement prevent people charged or convicted with low-level offenses from success upon re-entry.
We can’t lock up people who are charged with low-level crimes simply because they can’t pay their bail. Money bail for low-level crimes is the result of an unjust system and I will work hard to end it. Too often people are arrested for relatively minor offenses, but when they can’t pay their bail, they are forced to await their day in court in pre-trail detention—missing their families and putting in jeopardy their job and their housing. The injustice that comes from unnecessary pre-trail detention extends far beyond the injustice of the detention itself.
Too many Baltimoreans have petty crimes or juvenile crimes—many of them expungable—on their records. These limit access to educational and job opportunities. We have to make the expungement process easier and more accessible.
We have to end the epidemic of lead poisoning, fight the opioid crisis that has plagued our city for years, and break the cycle of trauma. We have to ensure access to affordable healthcare for all, and that includes access to comprehensive reproductive care. We need to understand that access to affordable childcare is a health issue, and it allows families to keep their housing and allows parents to maintain their employment.
As your delegate, I will work to make sure that we commit the resources needed to ensure access to care and fight health disparities that prevent so many youth in our community from being able to excel in school, in jobs, and in life.
We also have to think about new ways to address violence. Violence is a public health emergency, and we have to treat it as one. We have to intervene to stop the spread of violence the same way we would intervene with any other infectious disease. Programs like Safe Streets work, and we have to build on their success by sustainably funding them and growing them into citywide solutions. As your representative, I will work to build a citywide system that engages communities, works with community advocates, and deploys the credible messengers to mediate conflict as it occurs. We always think of violence as a police issue, but if we keep addressing crime the way we always have, we’re going to get the same results we always do. We have to get to the root.
Baltimore’s public education system is in crisis. Great schools are vital to the future of our neighborhoods, and we have to make sure they’re funded to succeed. I will fight for equity in school funding so that every kid in Baltimore can have great teachers and a strong education. Baltimore City’s youth are incredibly talented, but our kids need more support. Yet we ask schools to do more with less and improve outcomes.
One of the best ways we can ensure great schools is by developing and investing in great principals. As your delegate, I will work with teachers and principals to build pipelines for school leadership by helping to support and develop new and experienced principals through professional and leadership development so they can best support our kids.
As Baltimore grows, it’s important that our growth benefits all Baltimoreans. We have to protect our residents—especially our low-income residents—from being priced out of their neighborhoods. As your delegate, I will fight to ensure that home-ownership is affordable and accessible and that our neighborhoods are connected to great schools, employment opportunities, health resources, and healthy food. Baltimore has a lot of new investment and parts of the city are undergoing a renaissance. We can’t afford to let development force the relocation of generations of Baltimoreans—we have to make it work for us.
We have to bring communities into the decision-making process, and we need to start by building funding systems that empower communities to have real decision-making power. Community grants can be a powerful tool for empowerment, yet we don’t do nearly enough. I will fight to meet people where they are and involve residents and communities by building and deepening opportunities for communities to set their own priorities and have funding behind it. The only way government will work for communities is if we make sure that communities have the power to make decisions—what gets funded, what programs are implemented, what priorities are.