Baltimore is currently in an unstable housing situation, and likewise, so are Baltimoreans. Over fifty percent of renters and forty percent of homeowners pay a third of their monthly income for housing, and this creates a situation in which many of Baltimore’s working and middle class residents are under constant risk of eviction, or foreclosure, given the difficulty of payment. This situation is not helped by the greed of banks or the relative parsimony of many landlords, who tend to deal with a situation in a manner which makes sense for their bottom line, but is greatly harmful to the individuals they are dealing with.
As a socialist, Ian Schlakman believes in a transition towards greater community ownership of land and resources. He believes this because such a transition will give low-income residents both in our city and elsewhere greater determination over their lives by giving them both housing they can afford, and a tangible role in the management of their housing and their community. Therefore, he supports the Charter amendment proposed by Housing for all Baltimore, which aims to create more affordable housing through establishing a fund for affordable housing initiatives, known as the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
The amendment is revolutionary for affordable housing in Baltimore, and is effectively a socialization and democratization of housing. If the amendment is successful, for the first time in the history of the city, affordable housing residents, activists, and nonprofits will be making decisions regarding their housing, rather than a massive federal, state, or municipal bureaucracy. Furthermore, the amendment will provide low income residents with newfound opportunities to home ownership through the creation of community land trusts. Community Land Trusts have been extremely successful elsewhere, such as in Burlington, Vermont (where Bernie Sanders worked to establish what is now the country’s second largest community land trust).
Ian Schlakman is excited to endorse this amendment, and is looking forward to greater opportunities for housing equality and security that it will open up. This amendment is the first step towards low income communities determining what goes on in their homes and neighborhoods. Ian will support this amendment, and will fight on for a Tenant’s Bill of Rights, and housing for all of Baltimore’s homeless residents. There is enough housing for all, but capitalism structurally forbids this housing to be given to all. Amendments like this are the solution, and candidates like Ian will bring about the solution!