Save 900 Units of Affordable Housing
Reclaim what has been promised to us:
A Downtown Columbia where ALL Howard County families can live and thrive
From 2014-2017, PATH leaders and partners fought for and won 900 units of affordable housing in Downtown Columbia.
These units would be spread throughout several exciting mixed-use developments—starting with the New Cultural Center—as part of a landmark development agreement. Today, these projects are at risk, and along with them, the hundreds of units of affordable housing for Howard County families.
Do you believe that equitable access to housing creates stronger communities?
Then join our fight to SEAL THE DEAL.
Ways You Can Help
Testify before County Council
The Council is hearing public comment on legislation to move project funding out of contingency. Sign up to testify and tell our HoCo representatives WHY the New Cultural Center project would make a difference in your life.
Attend the Press Conference
On Monday, October 19 at 6:30 PM via Zoom, PATH is standing together with community groups across Howard County to call on County Council to restore funding for ARTS ACCESS & HOUSING EQUITY.
Your anonymous survey response will be used by the Housing Opportunities Master Plan Task Force to develop the Housing Opportunities Master Plan for Howard County.
Join the PATH housing team
Join a team of PATH leaders and allies in strategizing our next steps in the campaign to SEAL THE DEAL. Send an email for more info.
Organize your friends and neighbors
Schedule a time to talk to your synagogue, school, neighborhood association, etc. about this issue. If you want extra support, you can request a PATH leader to come speak to your group.
Spread the word
Share about this campaign on social media. Tell the story of how we got here. Follow PATH on Facebook and Twitter to stay informed.
How did we get here?
Get the scoop on the status of these 900 units and the current political landscape in Howard County.
Columbia Master Plan
Columbia adopts a revised master plan that calls for 15% of all housing to be affordable.
A Landmark Agreement
Howard County Council agrees to an expansive development plan that would bring exciting amenities to Howard County, including the New Cultural Center in Downtown Columbia. The plan guarantees 900 units of much-needed affordable housing distributed throughout several mixed-use cultural projects.
The plan, known as a DRRA (Development Rights and Responsibilities Agreement), is result of 3 years of discussion, lobbying, and organizing by the Columbia Downtown Housing Corporation, Howard County Housing Commission, county officials, and thousands of local residents with groups like PATH.
Tax Credits Secured
The state awards Howard County Housing Commission $64 Million in tax credits toward the construction of affordable housing units at the New Cultural Center, the first of the projects on the docket. The tax credits require that construction be complete and open for occupancy by the end of 2024, which means construction must begin in spring 2021, or Howard County forfeits the money.
May 27, 2020
Council members Deb Jung and David Youngmann introduce a last-minute amendment to the county budget that places funding for the New Cultural Center project in contingency. Jung says she wants to fund the project in FY2022. But in waiting until then, Howard County will lose those $64 Million in tax credits, placing the entire project at risk and tarnishing the county’s fiscal reputation.
September 24, 2020
County Executive Calvin Ball pre-files legislation that would move funding for the New Cultural Center project out of contingency.
This move comes after dozens of PATH leaders make countless phone calls and send hundreds of emails to raise awareness and pressure County Executive Ball to take action.
October 19, 2020
Public Legislative Hearing
Howard County Council will hear public testimony on TAO1-FY2021, the legislation that would restore funding for the New Cultural Center.
November 2, 2020
The Council Vote
Howard County Council will vote on TAO1-FY2021, the legislation that would restore funding for the New Cultural Center.
If the legislation is NOT approved at this time, then Howard County will lose $64 Million in state tax credits, as the construction timeline will fall behind the completion deadline to receive the tax credits.
A deal was made. Funds were acquired.
Project plans are in place.
What’s left to do?
There is no reason for Howard County Council to delay the project and walk away from $64 Million that will bring a trove of cultural riches to our community and pave the way for hundreds of Howard County families to live and thrive in Columbia.