Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today was joined by Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Jake Day, Department of Housing and Community Development Director Kelly Cimino, and other community leaders and advocates to announce the County’s new comprehensive Housing Opportunities Meant for Everyone, or HOME, package. Comprised of a suite of policy and programmatic initiatives, HOME is aimed at tackling housing affordability in Howard County. Photos from today’s event can be found here.
Like many counties and regions across the nation, Howard County is faced with an ongoing housing crisis. The rising cost of housing impedes many of our residents from realizing and continuing their dream of calling Howard County home. Our comprehensive HOME package aims to address our housing challenges head-on through policy changes and programmatic initiatives targeted at improving housing affordability and stability within our community, as well as protecting tenant rights.
Through bold and innovative solutions tailored to address Howard County’s housing challenges, the HOME package includes:
- Local legislation to prohibit rent gouging and bringing stability and predictability to the rental housing market. By setting annual rent increases to the lesser of inflation plus five percent or ten percent, tenants will be protected from excessive and extreme rent increases through this thoughtful policy approach. This legislation will be filed with the County Council for consideration in November.
- An expansion of Howard County’s Right to Purchase law, allowing the County and the Howard County Housing Commission to partner with nonprofit and private organizations to purchase existing rental properties and convert market rate units to affordable. This legislation will be filed with the County Council for consideration in November.
- State legislation to expand the Maryland payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) law to enable Howard County to offer tax credits to property owners for the creation of new affordable housing units. This legislation will be considered by the Howard County Delegation during the 2024 General Assembly Session.
- Security deposit and rental assistance programs for students and families experiencing homelessness. An investment of $2 million will be used to provide rental subsidies and security deposit guarantee to Howard County Public School System families experiencing homelessness, as well as Howard Community College students of eligible income who are seeking housing assistance.
- Home accessibility modifications for seniors and people with disabilities through a $100,000 investment. The Accessibility Modifications Program will provide $100,000 to Accessible Resources for Independence to assist landlords with making modifications to rental units at no cost to the prospective tenants.
- Award of $3 million from the County’s Housing Opportunities Trust Fund (HOTF) to direct new investments in homeownership, rehabilitation, rental subsidies and affordable unit creation. This includes $1.6 million for the transformational Patuxent Commons affordable housing project, which will include 25% of units available for people with disabilities.
I want to congratulate County Executive Ball and his team who, along with the community partners involved with the HOME Package, are taking a bold step today toward solving Howard County’s housing challenges. The affordable housing crisis impacts everyone in this state, and the fastest way to affect positive change is at the local level. I applaud Howard County’s efforts to help its residents with this initiative. DHCD and the State of Maryland are ready to help support Howard County's success and ensure that everyone has a place to live and that no Marylander is left behind.
In addition to proposed legislation and new programs, County Executive Calvin Ball announced that the Department of Housing and Community Development will open an application to award an additional $10 million from the Housing Opportunities Trust Fund this fall. This funding will be used to further advance rental assistance, homeownership initiatives, and the creation of new affordable housing opportunities. Once potential awardees are selected, funding approval will be presented to the County Council in 2024.
What County partners are saying:
"Stable housing is not a luxury; it's fundamental. When kids have a safe, secure place to call home, they can thrive academically, emotionally, and socially,” said County Council Chair Christiana Rigby. “Investing in housing stability for children and their families is an investment in our collective future.”
“It is truly an honor to have chaired the Housing Opportunity Trust Fund (HOTF) Advisory Committee alongside strong community leaders. We are professionals who are dedicated to promoting and supporting the implementation of programs and projects that ensure our most vulnerable community members have access to housing that meets their needs,” said Robbyn Harris, Chair of the Trust Fund Advisory Board. “As a long-time resident of Howard County who has raised my family here and served my community professionally as a REALTOR®, I have seen the need for the HOTF firsthand. The HOTF Committee is honored to support Dr. Ball and the community in helping to shape housing opportunities for the future residents of Howard County.”
“Understanding that in order for a child to be able to fully learn, their most basic needs must first be met, homelessness in Howard County is an extraordinary challenge and one we must collaboratively confront,” said Michael J. Martirano Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools. “I appreciate the County Executive, Bridges to Housing Stability, and the Howard County Department of Housing and Community Development for your extraordinary efforts and collaboration with school system staff on behalf of our students and their families.”
“Bridges to Housing Stability is so grateful that County Executive Ball, and the Department of Housing and Community Development are committed to ending homelessness for so many Howard County Public School Students and their families,” said Jennifer Broderick, Executive Director of Bridges to Housing Stability, Inc. “Bridges is dedicated to working closely with the public school system to make a lasting impact on hundreds of lives through this grant.”
“Housing security is the primary element in personal success for any individual, regardless of how they dream or what capacity they have to achieve,” said Daria J. Willis, President of Howard Community College. “We appreciate the collaboration between the County Executive and the Columbia Housing Center to help our students more easily visualize their own greatness by supporting safe housing as a learning and workforce development resource.”
“Columbia Housing Center is honored to be selected as the County’s partner in the Howard Community College student housing program. We are eager to help students find their perfect rental home in Columbia and remove some of the burden caused by the current housing crisis so these students can focus on learning, first and foremost,” said Jessamine Duvall, Executive Director of the Columbia Housing Center. “We are so grateful to County Executive Ball and the Department of Housing and Community Development for this opportunity. Working together, we will be a step closer to renewing James Rouse’s vision of a Columbia that is accessible to everyone who wishes to live here.”
“In this community that offers so much – great schools, top-notch public services, magnificent outdoor spaces, diverse and accessible retail choices – to so many, it is only right that we don’t push our frontline worker families out of our community,” said Kelly Klinefelter Lee, President of Howard Progressive Project. “Instead, we have to try, with innovative and multi-pronged programs and bills like these, to make home affordable here in our Howard County community.”
“It’s not every day that your county has your back in quite the same way that Howard County has had ours on this project,” said Melissa Rosenberg, Director of the Autism Society of Maryland. “County Executive Ball and his team have walked hand-in-hand with us on this vision of inclusive, affordable housing for those with disabilities, seniors and families that will serve as a national model. We are incredibly grateful.”