Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today announced historic investments in several housing initiatives, many of which are aimed at increasing affordable homeownership for moderate-income households. Ball’s total investment of $16.5 million is towards the Housing Opportunities Trust Fund, homeownership and rehabilitation programs, and rental assistance. Photos of the event can be found here.
For so many families who want to call Howard County home, buying or renting here is out of reach. Making homeownership widely available is a critical component to building a strong and prosperous community, and we must do the diligent work to ensure it is accessible for all. Our Fiscal Year 2024 proposed operating budget plan builds on these initiatives with historic investments to create wealth for families through the expansion of homeownership opportunities and improving our mixed-income housing availability. It is so critical that we continue our work to ensure accessible and affordable housing for ALL our residents, and the forward progress begins today.
The Housing Opportunities Trust Fund, established last year, aims to promote equitable access to affordable housing for households of limited income in Howard County. County Executive Ball proposed $10 million in funding for the Trust Fund in his FY24 budget - a 50% increase from last year’s budget.
“I’m proud to have sponsored the legislation establishing Howard County’s Housing Opportunities Trust Fund, which was a key recommendation of the Housing Opportunities Master Plan,” said Delegate Jessica Feldmark. “Howard County is uniquely well-positioned to address our housing crisis. I look forward to continuing to partner with County Executive Ball and the State Delegation to create housing opportunities for all who want to call Howard County home.”
“Our residents are feeling the impact of the housing crisis, from young people struggling to stay in Howard County to seniors unable to afford their home's maintenance,” said County Council Chair Christiana Rigby. “These investments in the Housing Opportunities Trust Fund and in our home rehabilitation and rental assistance programs will help ensure residents are able to overcome barriers to housing.”
“I support the County Executive’s pledge to promote homeownership, which builds generational wealth, supports diverse communities, and cements a solid core of engaged residents,” said County Council Vice Chair Deb Jung.
Ball’s announcement occurred at Roslyn Rise, a mixed-income redevelopment that will provide more than 100 affordable units across the income spectrum. Roslyn Rise is being constructed by Enterprise Community Development, and it will include a total of 152 mixed-income units ranging from one to four bedrooms.
“Vital housing developments like Roslyn Rise, which will provide modern homes to a full-spectrum of households, are only possible through partnership with the County,” said Christine Madigan, Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer of Enterprise Community Development. “Enterprise is thankful for the County’s continued commitment to affordable housing and its investment in the Housing Opportunities Trust Fund.”
A 7-member Housing Opportunities Trust Fund Advisory Committee was established earlier this month. The committee will review applications, make funding recommendations to the Housing and Community Development Board and make recommendations to the County Executive about future funding needs.
“As a member of the Housing Opportunities Trust Fund Advisory Committee, I look forward to reviewing the funding requests to promote affordable housing and affordable homeownership in Howard County,” said Kimberley Amprey Flowers. “The Committee is grateful to County Executive Ball for the opportunity to do this important work in our community.”
Today’s announcement also includes $6.5 million for homeownership and housing rehabilitation initiatives, which are aimed at increasing access to homeownership for limited income homebuyers. This investment will help more families achieve homeownership and wealth-building opportunities through the Settlement Downpayment Loan Program (SDLP) and the Housing Assistance Program (HAP). Over the last five years, nearly 400 families have accessed homeownership in Howard County because of these critical programs that make homeownership more attainable and affordable for all who want to call Howard County home.
"We understand that the response to the Housing Opportunities Trust Fund's first Notice of Funding Availability has well exceeded the initial Fund seeding of $5 million in FY 2023," said Jackie Eng, Coordinator of the Howard County Housing Affordability Coalition. "This response underscores the need for a more robustly financed Fund. The proposed $10 million FY 2024 investment is a major step in expanding the capacity of the Fund to meet the critical demand for affordable rental housing, homeownership and other supports to meet the housing demands of our County's low- and moderate-income families."
Additionally, Ball has proposed $1 million in funding to bolster rental assistance programs. Since the start of the pandemic, Howard County has distributed more than $25 million to process 3,800 applications for past due rent and utility payments, among other needs. This funding was essential to keeping limited income individuals and families in their homes during especially difficult times.
“During times that are challenging and often debilitating for individuals and families facing difficult times, it may be easy to forget that they, too, are human and need help to help them get back on track. This continued funding for rental assistance will help keep Howard County residents housed in safe and stable conditions,” said Jasmine Brewer, Executive Director of MakingChange. “As a HUD-approved counseling agency, MakingChange not only assists families with rental assistance, but we educate and empower them on how to get back on track financially. This additional funding will undoubtedly make a significant difference in the lives of our fellow citizens.”
"Rebuilding Together Howard County is proud to partner with the Howard County Department of Housing and Community Development,” says Ann Heavner, Executive Director of Rebuilding Together. “Through this partnership, Rebuilding Together Howard County provides an Urgent Repair Program. This program responds quickly to supply critical no-cost repairs that are needed immediately for low-income homeowners.”