A few years ago, the “affordable housing” issue facing most Mid-Shore communities would rarely make the top ten concerns for voters, but that’s not true anymore.
For various reasons, a community’s need for workforce and young professional housing has risen to the top of pressing issues in towns like Chestertown and Easton. One of those factors was the rise of real estate prices during the COVID pandemic, which made these historically affordable places to live suddenly beyond the reach of so many. And as the region loses valuable workers and much-needed healthcare workers, the Mid-Shore municipalities are seeking strategies to address this crisis.
And like many crises, once unknown partners come to the forefront to help. And in the case of affordable housing, that is certainly the case with the relatively recent arrival of The Arc and its powerful Chesapeake Neighbors division to work with towns, counties, and the private sector to provide the synergy and financial means to make affordable housing a reality.
For the uninitiated, The Arc is not your typical affordable housing nonprofit. Starting in 1961 in Anne Arundel County, the Arc had the stated mission of supporting those with intellectual disability and developmental disability. And while a good portion of their work then was assisting with all forms of assistance and advocacy, it was The Arc’s work in finding homes where those with IDD could live independently.
Over the years, this $200 million organization has increasingly seen affordable housing missions move beyond the IDD population and become far more inclusive for all impacted by a home shortage.
On the Shore, it has become the central focus of the Arc’s Chesapeake Region office and its Chesapeake Neighbors program. Currently working on two major affordable housing projects in Easton and one set for Chestertown, which collectively is close to $20 million of construction, the Arc has almost overnight become an essential player.
The Spy sat down with Jonathon Rondeau, the Arc’s Central Chesapeake CEO, to hear more about the organization’s plans for the Mid-Shore and their approach to real and sustainable affordable housing.
This video is approximately 10 minutes in length. For more information about The Arc please go here.