News Article

Charles County Leaders Join Senator Cardin At Roundtable Discussion On Affordable Housing
February 17, 2024


By: Charles County Government

Charles County leaders joined U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) at the College of Southern Maryland in La Plata for a roundtable discussion focused on addressing housing insecurity and homelessness in the region. The event brought state and local leaders, along with advocacy groups and key stakeholders from across the Southern Maryland region. to discuss challenges and opportunities to close the gap in safe and affordable housing.

At the roundtable, participants shared the unique challenges faced by Southern Maryland, especially a shortage of low-income and workforce housing and current barriers to moving from homelessness into more permanent shelters. Participants emphasized that the highest area of need is expanded access to both rental and homeownership assistance for those who are between 30 and 50 percent of the median household income in Charles County.

“It’s outrageous that in the wealthiest nation in the world, there are people who can’t afford to pay their rent or live in the communities where they work. We must make affordable housing a priority,” said Senator Cardin. “Today, the largest single investment of federal support in affordable housing is in the tax code, and we have to maintain it.”

Senator Cardin organized the forum to hear directly from those working on the front lines and discuss current legislative proposals that could provide critical support. He highlighted the federal government’s potential expansion of the low-income tax credit incentive program to construct subsidized housing and extension of child tax credits to provide relief to working families.

Charles County Health Officer Dr. Dianna E. Abney, M.D., addressed how housing insecurity has affected vulnerable populations such as immigrants and children, who often must pull together multiple families in a single residence to afford housing. “Families with children who are living in unstable housing environments experience increased stress and frequency of chronic illnesses,” stated Dr. Abney. “The lack of a secure home acts as a barrier to educational opportunities, healthy food access, and preventive healthcare, and we need comprehensive solutions that ensure everyone in our community can thrive.”

Dina Barclay, Director of Charles County’s Department of Community Services, shared that the county has received two major grants that will expand transitional housing for women and children seeking shelter from domestic violence and for women who are recovering from substance abuse addiction. “The challenges are significant, but there is a strong commitment in Charles County and throughout Southern Maryland to address this issue,” Barclay said. “We look forward to continuing our partnership to ensure everyone has access to safe and affordable housing.”