The NLC Community and Economic Development (CED) Committee Fall Policy Meeting was hosted in Gaithersburg, Maryland by CED Chair Laurie-Anne Sayles, Councilmember, Gaithersburg, MD. Located less than 15 miles from Washington, DC, the city of Gaithersburg is one of Maryland’s largest and fastest growing municipalities, and consistently ranks as one of the five most culturally diverse cities in the United States.
The proximity of Gaithersburg to Washington, DC gave the committee an opportunity to advocate on CED issues. Committee members travelled to the headquarters building of the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and participated in a roundtable discussion with HUD Secretary Ben Carson, HUD Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research Seth Appleton, HUD Deputy Chief of Staff Alfonso Costa and representatives from the HUD offices of Community Planning and Development, and Intergovernmental Relations. Committee members presented to the HUD leaders’ copies of NLC’s Housing Task Force report, Homeward Bound: The Road to Affordable Housing. They also provided feedback on the Executive Order Establishing a White House Council on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing, which is chaired by Secretary Carson.
Following the HUD meeting, the committee met with Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen to talk HUD appropriations and voucher mobility. Committee members thanked Senator Van Hollen for his efforts to restore certainty to the federal budget and appropriations process, and to prevent another government shutdown.
City managers and other Gaithersburg leaders also provided committee attendees with a wealth of education on local best practices focused on economic development, planning, and housing. Committee members were keen to learn about Gaithersburg’s “floating zoning” policies, locally funded toolkits supporting local business and entrepreneurs and residential housing construction for low-income residents including the elderly.
During the business meeting, the committee voted to support all existing CED Resolutions and two new resolutions. Those resolutions are:
- NLC Proposed Resolution Supporting H.R. 1856, the Ending Homelessness Act of 2019
- NLC Proposed Resolution Urging Congressional Consideration of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement
All NLC resolutions will receive a final vote at the NLC business meeting during City Summit in November.
About the Authors: Michael Wallace is the Program Director for Community and Economic Development at the National League of Cities. Follow him on Twitter @MikeWallaceII.