Housing

  • Develop a comprehensive housing strategy for the town of Easton. The strategy should address affordable housing as well as the real estate investment climate throughout the town. Having a comprehensive strategy will maximize opportunities to ensure deliberate housing development into the future.
  • Hire a home ownership counselor who would counsel and prepare up to 25 home-buyers per year. Funding is available for this through the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Block Grant Program, and initial conversations indicate their willingness to work with Easton. An investment of $100,000 could yield $4.4 million in home purchases per year. A secondary benefit is that current renters at high rental rates could see their overall housing costs decrease, freeing up capital for other uses.

 

  • Port Street and Easton Point represent an opportunity for a larger scale housing project that would feature both market rate and affordable units. With focused attention a project could be identified and moved forward within a year. Estimated investment: $15 – $20M.

 

  • Existing affordable housing funded by USDA financing should remain affordable and encouraged to address long-standing condition issues, particularly those that threaten the health and safety of tenants.

 

  • Conduct a housing survey with two phases: First, evaluate all existing housing units and lots in the Port Street Small Area Master Area to include privately owned units, rental units, vacant lots and units at risk of abandonment and/or decay. Those structures at risk for abandonment or further decay should be documented and a plan put in place to stabilize the structures until such time as a redevelopment plan is developed and executed.

 

  • Second, the survey should document the percent of homeownership and rental units in the district as well as sale and lease prices relative to local wages at the time of the survey. Adequate opportunities for housing at all income levels should be maintained in the Study Area, with a goal towards increasing the affordable housing options. Affordable and workforce housing opportunities should be maintained at levels that will prevent the migration of long-term residents and sustain a growing workforce. A community driven process can be developed to evaluate needs and opportunities to maintain housing for all income levels in the Study

 

  • An architectural resources survey should be undertaken to evaluate the historical and architectural resources of the Study The survey should extend beyond Easton Point and continue up Port Street, past the intersection with Washington Street and through to the Hill Neighborhood. Documenting the built environment as well as the businesses and culture of the Port Street Area, the survey could include the 1919 Rosenwald School on Port Street and other historic sites. This documentation could assist in the placement of the sites on the National Register of Historic Places, making them eligible for Federal and State Historic Tax Credits. All federal and state funding mechanisms should be explored and used in all sections of the plan.

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