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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.