The complaint filed by Baltimore Regional Housing Campaign (BRHC) alleged that Maryland applied discriminatory policies and practices in the way that it administered the Low Income Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, the federal government’s primary support for construction of affordable rental housing. BRHC alleged that the state’s policies fostered segregation by steering affordable housing for families to high poverty black neighborhoods while excluding it from predominantly white areas with less poverty. For example, BRHC’s analysis found that only a quarter of the LIHTC apartments built for families are located in low poverty areas with poverty rates of 10 percent or less. In stark contrast, half of the region’s rental housing, and half of the LIHTC apartments restricted to seniors, are located in low poverty areas.
On October 3rd 2017, With this settlement, Maryland joins a growing number of states with affirmative fair housing provisions embedded in their state LIHTC plans. The State of Maryland and its Department of Housing and Community Development have entered into a Voluntary Compliance Agreement and Conciliation Agreement (VCA) with the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) and fair housing advocates, requiring the State to create 1,500 affordable housing opportunities for families with children in high opportunity areas of the Baltimore region. The VCA resolves a complaint filed with HUD’s Office of Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity in August 2011 by the Baltimore Regional Housing Campaign, a coalition of organizations that includes the ACLU of Maryland (ACLU), the Citizens’ Planning & Housing Association (CPHA), and Innovative Housing Institute (IHI), all based in Baltimore, as well as the Poverty & Race Research Action Council (PRRAC), a national organization based in Washington, D.C.