Published on: Saturday, September 28, 2019 City Council & Mayor Blog

Building A Livable Community for All: Housing and Economic Development Strategic Plan

Since our Community Conversation on Affordable Housing in February 2016, the City Council and staff have been working on a Housing and Strategic Development Plan. This multi-year process of research, staff facilitation, community discussion and Council consideration have led to the current draft of the strategic plan: “Building A Livable Community for All: Housing and Economic Development Strategic Plan.”

We knew when we started this process the importance of addressing housing affordability in our community. The need has only increased and become ever more urgent. We need to move forward with an aggressive plan to address the needs of people in our community, protect renters, homeowners, and local businesses from displacement, and to advance our efforts to fight climate change and create a more equitable community. On a daily basis, our city staff is working with individuals and families who face a housing crisis whether it is needed repairs, inability to pay rent or utilities, or inability finding an affordable home. We need to establish policies, programs, and advocate at the state and county level to help us address these problems not just in the near term but in the future as well.

When I first moved to Takoma Park from DC I was able to rent a small home on Philadelphia Avenue while my husband and I

saved the money and borrowed from our parents to purchase our first home on Elm Avenue. We have been here for almost 25 years and raised our family. Unfortunately, the opportunities to rent a small home and then save up and find a home to purchase have all but disappeared and for too many people these opportunities never existed. We need to work so that we have a range of housing options in our community for the young couple starting a family, the police officer, teacher or others who work in the city and want to live here, the senior looking to downsize but stay close to neighbors, and many others. This goes to the heart of who we are – a welcoming, diverse, inclusive community.

Adoption of the plan is not the end of our work but really just the beginning. Over the last 3 and half years, we have compiled a lot of data and feedback. You can find all it on the project page. 

The objective of this current document is to take all that we have been working on the last few years and boil it down to our vision, goals, and objectives to provide a road map for the work ahead. We plan to use this as document to set priorities for the staff, our budget, as well as advocate at the county and state for the changes needed to implement our vision.

Staff has started putting together an implementation plan which they presented in June. You can find it here. We have also started working on indicators in order to mark our progress in meeting our goals and objectives. Once we have this finalized the overall plan, we will be putting in place the indicators.

Over the next couple of weeks, the Council will continue its discussion of the plan, and I’d love your feedback. Please email me and other members of Council your thoughts at Kates@takomaparkmd.gov. Our goal is have the plan adopted by the end of October so we can start advocating at the county and state level for changes we need to implement many of these ideas.