December 22, 2021

County Leveraged Existing and New Finance and Policy Tools to Reduce Housing Cost Burdens and Serve Communities

The Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) in Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021 leveraged existing and new finance and policy tools to preserve current affordable housing and increase the number of rent-regulated units for people with low incomes. These and other results are summarized in a new report.

The affordable housing efforts focused on households with low incomes because the County has more than 20,000 households that are severely housing-cost burdened, earning less than $31,000 per year and spending more than half of their income on rent. It is projected that one in four new households in 2030 will have incomes with less than 50 percent of area median income.

“We are applying every available policy tool and financial resource to help reduce housing cost burdens by increasing the number of affordable, rent-regulated housing units; providing rent supports; and, preserving current affordable housing while protecting tenants from displacement,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “Through these efforts, we are leveraging opportunities to fight climate change and close gaps in racial inequities. With the implementation of this plan, we will continue to enable more people to be able to afford to live in Montgomery County.”

Across the two years, DHCA efforts reduced housing cost burdens through a range of strategies that preserved and produced affordable housing and protect people who are most vulnerable. To expand opportunities to preserve and increase affordable housing, the County grew FY22 housing funding to a record $90 million.

FY20-21 highlights, as indicated in the annual report, include:
  • Annually supported approximately 6,300 affordable housing units through financing to establish long-term affordability, rental assistance to maintain affordability, support for home purchasing and MPDUs (moderately-priced dwelling units). Included in this total is annual support for preservation and production of approximately 1,000 more rent-regulated affordable housing units.
  • Implemented No Net Loss to preserve 564 units of naturally occurring affordable housing (“NOAH”) at Halpine View and assure then-current residents will have opportunity to stay in the event of redevelopment. This is a strategy that can be leveraged more broadly across the County.
  • Pursued the County’s Right of First Refusal to preserve existing affordable housing at Naples Manor and introduced the Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund to provide short-term loans that support developers in moving quickly to acquire and preserve at-risk affordable housing.
  • Leveraged County-owned land to achieve deeply affordable housing units at Randolph Road/Bushey Drive as well as Halpine View Apartments. Created homeownership opportunities for residents with modest incomes through the Montgomery Homeownership Program and homeownership units at Randolph Road/Bushey Drive.
  • Supported thousands of renters and landlords, as part of COVID response and recovery, by promoting rental assistance paid to landlords and arranging legal help and support services for renters. Deferred loan payments for affordable apartment properties in response to high rates of renter delinquency.
  • Leveraged Federal funds to support acquisition and renovation of a commercial building into a 214-bed shelter, bringing homeless shelter capacity to approximately 300 beds year-round and replacing the temporary facilities used during the public health emergency.
  • Supported adaptive reuse of commercial property for conversion to affordable residential units for seniors.
“We appreciate the support of the entire Montgomery County community. DHCA leveraged Federal, State and County resources with for-profit and nonprofit partners in providing services to our community,” said DHCA Director Aseem K. Nigam. “Our work is not done. We will continue working to create affordable, safe and attractive housing and neighborhoods.”