An overview of MACo’s advocacy on housing and community development legislation in the 2021 General Assembly.
When advocating for the housing and community development needs of counties MACo supports legislation that bolsters the efforts of local governments to address public and affordable housing, bight, foreclosure, and community development.
This year the Maryland General Assembly conducted a legislative session unlike any other due to the enduring COVID-19 pandemic. The unique circumstances surrounding the 442nd legislative session, including necessary health and safety measures, posed a challenge for lawmakers and advocates alike. Despite the unusual circumstances, MACo’s advocacy still led to more positive outcomes for its members.
For more information on Maryland’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic visit MACo’s COVID-19 resource page.
Neighborhood Revitalization Programs
MACo members voted to oppose legislation that would require applications for a variety of Neighborhood Revitalization Programs. These programs provide vital funding and support to local governments in their endeavors to revitalize parts of their jurisdiction. This application process would have made it more tedious and burdensome for local governments to utilize the various tools laid out in these programs. Housing and Community Development – Neighborhood Revitalization Programs – Application Requirements received an unfavorable report from the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee and did not advance in the 2021 General Assembly.
Tenants and Landlords
(While initially categorized as a public safety matter, MACo’s late-session involvement with HB 1312, after substantial House amendments, focused on renter protection, and merits inclusion in this subject area) MACo supported legislation with amendments that sought to prevent an unprecedented wave of tenant evictions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. MACo agreed with the need to support local efforts to stem the effects of eviction moratorium with the use of appropriate federal or state funds that is incorporated into this bill. However, the implementation of these responsibilities by local Sheriffs is unwise as it may lead to a significant increase in staff time and financial commitment, at the expense of local governments, to working on eviction issues. COVID-19 Eviction and Housing Relief Act of 2021 passed the House but did not pass the Senate prior to the end of the 2021 Legislative Session, despite MACo joining multiple advocates seeking renter protections during the remaining course of the health pandemic.