Howard County has announced an inaugural investment of $5 million that will create a new Housing Opportunities Trust Fund in Howard County.
The transformational fund, the first of its kind in Howard County, will be administered by the county Department of Housing and Community Development and will be used to:
● Assist first-time home buyers
● Develop, preserve and rehab affordable housing in Howard County
● Increase affordability for low-income households
The fund will implement strategies and recommendations contained in Howard County’s Housing Opportunities Master Plan, completed last year.
With funding now in place, Howard County can invest more in already existing programs to help with homeownership and rental assistance, like the Settlement Downpayment Loan Program, the Moderate Income Housing Unit program and rental subsidies.
The Housing Opportunities Master Plan identified current housing challenges in Howard County and provides a clear strategy to improve access to housing and guide housing-related decisions for the next five to 10 years.
The master plan identifies three overarching strategies Howard County can employ to improve housing opportunities:
● Revising land use, planning, and zoning regulations to improve the availability, accessibility, affordability and diversity of housing;
● Supporting housing stability through the improvement of existing policies and programs and the creation of new ones; and
● Addressing both housing and infrastructure needs in Howard County to ensure that neither form of demand eclipses the other.
Howard County has already made investments in affordable housing developments to serve populations in need by supporting developments like Patuxent Commons, a 74-unit affordable housing project in Columbia that will support people with disabilities.