Workforce housing project worth supporting
This week the Berlin Town Council voted to support a workforce housing project with tax and other incentives of $167,000 over the course of 15 years. The Cannery Village project, slated for the east side of Berlin, is one of several being considered throughout the state under the Maryland and Federal Community Development tax equity program.
It’s a project that couldn’t be more suited to the coastal area where those who work full-time in moderate-income jobs find it a challenge to ¬afford to live. For many it requires working an extra part-time job or two or finding roommates to help with the costs.
The community of single-family homes will have rents ranging from about $400 to $900 per month. With average rents in the area ranging from $1,100 to $1,800 per month this is a real opportunity for those who struggle to make ends meet every month.
For the developer, it becomes both a short- and long-term investment opportunity, with rental income for 15 years and thereafter the ability to sell the homes at market rate if they choose.
There is no question that the area has had limited, affordable rental stock in decent condition for the average worker and solving this housing issue has been one that, until now, hasn’t had a viable solution. This project will serve as a pilot program for the area and one that could succeed in at the state level.
Berlin should be commended for jumping on board this no-risk opportunity, as it could become one that, just maybe, other communities in the area might want to emulate.