Purple Line Corridor Coalition Releases Housing Action Plan to Preserve Affordability along New Light Rail Route in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties

Public, private and nonprofit partners seek to ensure housing stability for existing residents and preserve or create at least 17,000 affordable homes along new Purple Line transit corridor

COLLEGE PARK, MD (Dec. 12, 2019) – The Purple Line Corridor Coalition (PLCC), a public-private-community collaboration in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, today released a regional Housing Action Plan outlining a pathway toward preserving housing affordability along the planned Purple Line route, which currently contains at least 17,000 homes affordable to families earning less than $70,000 per year. The Plan contains 12 specific recommendations to work in concert with existing policies and programs and is designed to help ensure that existing and future individuals and families of all income levels benefit from the 16-mile Purple Line light rail upon its completion in 2023. 

Founded in 2013, the PLCC’s most recent work is based on a voluntary Community Development Agreement signed in 2017 by the Montgomery and Prince George’s County Executives before they left office. The agreement was cosigned by dozens of public and private community-based organizations who committed to working together to leverage the Purple Line investment to create opportunity for all who live, work and invest in the corridor. 

The Housing Action plan was developed by the PLCC’s Housing Action Goal Team, which is led by co-chairs Enterprise Community Partners, MHP and the Housing Initiative Partnership (HIP).

Nearly 70 percent of the 170,000 individuals who live along the corridor are people of color, and nearly half of all households earn less than $70,000 per year. Without concerted investment, homes along the Purple Line corridor will become unaffordable for the individuals and families who live here. 

As members of the PLCC, the Montgomery and Prince George’s County Executives are engaged in the work to promote housing affordability and economic opportunity along the Purple Line Corridor and informed the recommendations in the report. 

“We stand committed to leveraging our collective resources across county lines and will work to support the existing residents that live along the Purple Line corridor as well as create new affordable and market rate housing along the Line,” said Prince George’s County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks.

“The Purple Line Corridor Coalition organized an extraordinary team of community and public representatives to document the needs of the community and to identify tangible objectives.  Montgomery County made the commitment with our investment in the Purple Line light rail that it would prioritize serving the interests of the current residents and businesses in the Corridor, and we fully support the recommendations, the objectives and the accountability outlined in the Housing Action Plan to help meet that commitment,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “The economic vitality we expect from our investment in this extraordinary transit system will only be fully realized by ensuring that the County retains the contributions of the current residents and businesses along this Corridor.”

The Plan’s recommendations, some of which are already being implemented, cover three key areas: (1) policy and programs; (2) coordination between county governments and community partners; and (3) collaboration between PLCC members and local community organizations.

Key policy recommendations include:

  • Seeking additional state funding and public/private investment
  • Exploring innovative zoning programs and strategic development of surplus land
  • Establishing tax and loan programs and incentives geared toward affordable housing development, renovation and preservation
  • Developing tenant protections and pathways to ownership
  • Increasing funding for local housing trust funds

“This set of recommendations is the result of a truly collaborative effort to utilize every resource available to preserve affordability along the Purple Line Corridor,” said Enterprise Community Partners Vice President and Mid-Atlantic Market Leader David Bowers. “The next crucial step is implementation. Enterprise looks forward to working with our partners to realize the Coalition’s vision for safe, affordable housing along the Corridor so families of all income levels can take advantage of the opportunities the Purple Line will bring.”

“The release of this plan marks a critical milestone in our efforts to allow residents of all income levels to benefit from opportunities the Purple Line will provide across the corridor,” said MHP President Robert Goldman. “The time to act is now. We already are seeing signs that rents in the corridor are rising faster than elsewhere in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties.” 

“For over 30 years, HIP has worked with at-risk families to ensure they have housing they can afford that meets their needs over the long term. This Housing Action Plan has built consensus across both Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties to implement policies and programs sooner rather than later so that long-time residents can benefit from access to the Purple Line without fear of displacement,” said HIP Executive Director Maryann Dillon.

"Housing is a critical element of any successful transit investment, but specifically in this region, it's vital to the economic and social value of the corridor," said Gerrit Knaap, director of the National Center for Smart Growth, which houses the Purple Line Corridor Coalition. "This plan serves as an outstanding model for the future work of the PLCC."  

The recommendations in the Housing Action Plan were developed through a series of listening sessions and focus groups with residents, small businesses and other stakeholders; a region-wide housing survey; research into existing work conducted by both counties in updating regulations and policy; and examination of other transit-oriented development case studies across the country.

The PLCC’s Housing Action Goal Team is co-chaired by Enterprise Community Partners, MHP and Housing Initiative Partnership (HIP). Other members include representatives from CASA & Fair Development Coalition, Coalition for Smarter Growth, Community Preservation and Development Corporation, Kaiser Permanente, Montgomery County Planning Department, Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs, University of Maryland’s National Center for Smart Growth, Prince George’s County Department of Housing and Community Development, Prince George’s County Planning Department and Purple Line NOW. 

About the Purple Line Corridor Coalition
The Purple Line Corridor Coalition (PLCC), formed in 2013, is a multi-sector collaborative led and administered by the University of Maryland’s National Center for Smart Growth in partnership with a coalition of community organizations, state and local governments, nonprofits, philanthropies, and businesses. PLCC led the creation of the Community Development Agreement for the Purple Line Corridor which articulates a collective vision for vibrant economic and community development along the 16-mile corridor.

About Enterprise Community Partners
Enterprise is a proven and powerful nonprofit that improves communities and people’s lives by making well-designed homes affordable and connected to opportunity. As a social enterprise, we bring together the nationwide know-how, policy leadership, partners, donors and investors to multiply the impact of local affordable housing development. Over more than 35 years, Enterprise has created 585,000 homes, invested more than $43 billion and touched millions of lives. 

About MHP
Since 1989, MHP’s mission has been to preserve and expand access to quality, affordable housing. MHP serves more than 2,100 families in Montgomery County and the region. The organization is committed to housing people, empowering families, and strengthening neighborhoods. 

About HIP
Housing Initiative Partnership is an innovative, green nonprofit housing developer and counseling agency, based in Prince George’s County, and dedicated to revitalizing neighborhoods. During the past 30 years, HIP has served more than 25,000 Marylanders in need of safe, affordable and secure housing. HIP focuses on building affordable apartments and homes, and providing a full range of housing and financial counseling services to renters, first-time buyers, and homeowners to help them realize their housing goals.

About the National Center for Smart Growth
Located at the University of Maryland, College Park, the National Center for Smart Growth is a non-partisan center for research and leadership training on smart growth and related land use issues in Maryland, in metropolitan regions around the nation, and in Asia and Europe. 

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