County Executive Isiah Leggett today joined County Council President Nancy Floreen, Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Deputy Secretary Clarence Snuggs, and federal and local housing officials to tour a formerly vacant foreclosed property that is now available for rental through the Housing Opportunities Commission. The acquisition and renovation of this house, as well as 15 others in Germantown and Wheaton, is part of a $7.1 million effort made possible by funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Neighborhood Stabilization Program, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s Neighborhood Conservation Initiative and a HUD Community Development Block Grant.
“A vacant, foreclosed house is an unwelcome presence in a healthy neighborhood,” said Leggett. “This project represents our ability to identify resources and develop partnerships to support healthy neighborhoods and provide more affordable housing for families.”
“This program is a real win-win,” said County Council President Nancy Floreen. “It is good not just for families in need of affordable housing, but for neighborhoods and the County as a whole. I’m glad we’ve been able to work with our state and federal partners to make this program happen.”
“The State of Maryland is proud to partner with HUD and Montgomery County to prevent foreclosures and stabilize distressed neighborhoods through the Neighborhood Conservation Initiative," said DHCD Deputy Secretary Clarence Snuggs. "Through this program, we're transforming vacant, foreclosed homes into affordable and energy efficient rental housing opportunities that will strengthen the community and improve the quality of life for its residents."
Montgomery County received an award of $2.1 from HUD’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP). In addition, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) received funding from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and established a Neighborhood Conversation Initiative Program. Funds were made available to local jurisdictions through a competitive process, and Montgomery County was awarded an initial $2.5 million. Recently, the County received an additional $1.7 in funding from the State. The County provided an additional $815,000 of its own Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to the effort.
“The Neighborhood Stabilization Program was created to address the housing crisis, create jobs, and grow local economies by providing communities with the resources to purchase and rehabilitate vacant homes,” said HUD’s deputy regional administrator Brenda Laroche. “It is our goal to make HUD the kind of federal partner that listens and responds to the needs of communities, so that we can work together to rebuild our neighborhoods and our economy."
Today’s announcement was made at a single family home in Germantown that was purchased by the Housing Opportunities Commission. Homes were purchased for an average cost of $242,860 and an average rehabilitation cost of $43,260. The rehabilitation includes comprehensive bath and kitchen remodeling, as well as other improvements to reduce ongoing maintenance costs. The homes include “Energy Star” appliances, heating and air conditioning systems, door and windows, and insulation.
The Housing Opportunities Commission provides the homes to eligible households with incomes less than 50 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), or $51,750 for a family of four.
“The Housing Opportunities Commission is pleased to be a partner in this success story. Not only are we helping neighborhoods recover from an unprecedented housing crisis, but we are also reaching out to help families in our community who need affordable rental housing,” said Housing Opportunities Commission Executive Director Annie Alston.
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Protecting, preserving and creating affordable housing is one of Leggett’s top priorities. During his administration, the County has increased funding for the Housing Initiative Fund from $20 million just a few years ago to $59 million in the current fiscal year. In addition, he has dedicated funding and staffing resources to foreclosure prevention, enhanced code enforcement and the acquisition and rehabilitation of foreclosed properties.