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HB 36: Rebuilding Baltimore City Communities Act of 2016

The Maryland Catholic Conference (“Conference”) represents the public-policy interests of the three Roman Catholic (arch)dioceses serving Maryland: the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Diocese of Wilmington.

HB 36 requires the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore City to grant, by law, a specified property tax credit against the property tax imposed on certain property located in designated communities in Baltimore City that will apply to all taxable years beginning after June 30, 2016.

Homelessness is pervasive problem in Maryland and disproportionately so in Baltimore City. Yet sadly, blocks upon blocks of homes that could help alleviate homelessness stand vacant. It is in the best interests of those who are homeless, residents, and communities for vacant dwellings to be rehabilitated in order to increase the amount of adequate and affordable housing in Baltimore City.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have stated: "The lack of safe, affordable housing requires a renewed commitment to increase the supply of quality housing and to preserve, maintain, and improve existing housing through public/private partnerships, especially with religious groups and community organizations” (Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, 2011). Safe, affordable housing is a vital step to rebuilding Baltimore City, therefore, the Conference encourages every effort to be made to encourage the revitalization of vacant dwellings –particularly in communities where approximately one-third of dwellings have remained vacant for the last three years.

The Conference appreciates your consideration and urges you to support HB 36