For Immediate Distribution: October 25, 2022
Media Contact: Ines Toto Furume, [email protected],  571-423-8458

Laurel, MD – In solidarity with the laurel tenants, CASA and the partners of Laurel Housing Justice Coalition held a press conference in front of the Laurel Municipal Center before the public special working session began on Monday, October 24. Community members rallied outside in support of urging the Laurel City Council to prioritize housing rights by immediately passing a bill sponsored by At-Large Laurel City Councilman Martin Mitchell, the Anti-Homelessness and Displacement Act. This bill would stabilize rent prices and prevent rent hikes from going forward in the city of Laurel.

Councilmember Martin Mitchell explained, “This bill is so important because while we can create more affordable housing, provide more tax credits, create a landlord tenant commission… those things take a long time and as we heard from tenants, these people don’t have time. If we pass rent stabilization today, that’s a policy that can help people tomorrow.”

“PG Changemakers stands with Laurel residents and the rest of Prince George’s County as we demand that renters in the county receive support and attention in regards to this matter. Rent stabilization is not just a local matter — it is a state matter, and it is a national matter. On a local level we must ensure that our residents are able to live in the communities that they work in, that they play in, and that they pay taxes in. We must make sure that their rent and their homes are affordable,” said Janna Parker, PG Changemakers.

Councilmember Carl DeWalt commented, “This bill is possible. We want to protect our tenants and we want the landlords to make money, but the sudden and drastically high increase is unfair to our community, especially to our elderly and veteran residents.”

After the press conference, the public special working session began and the Council members, minus Mayor Joe, who was not present, heard directly from those impacted by the rent increases happening all around the city.

“Today I am here to tell the Laurel City Council that we need homes for all. We need the Laurel mayor and council to prioritize rent stabilization,” said Ola Harbour, CASA member in Laurel to the Council. “Having rent stabilization in place would send a message that is loud and clear: housing is a human right,” Ms. Harbour’s rent increased about 25%.

More than 10 other community members gave their testimonies on the record in favor of urgently passing this rent stabilization bill.

“It is imminent that concerns of affordable housing will continue to worsen as more residents in Prince George’s County experience unexpected rent increases,” closed Jorge Benitez-Perez, CASA lead organizer. “The pandemic exacerbated the already existing and often ignored rent crisis in Maryland. The rent prices have significantly increased at levels that do not match local salaries and wages. Renters in Laurel are one example of Marylanders suffering from drastic rent increases. It is critical that legislation stabilizing rent is put in place to protect our communities.”


With over 122,000 lifetime Latino, immigrant, and working-class members across 46 US states, CASA is the foremost immigrant organization in the mid-Atlantic region and a national leader in supporting immigrant families and ensuring that all individuals have the core support necessary for full participation in society. Now a national immigrant powerhouse, CASA creates change with its powerbuilding model blending human services, community organizing, and advocacy in order to serve the full spectrum of the needs, dreams, and aspirations of members. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter at @CASAforall.