Thursday, September 18, 2008

Local Intervention In The Housing Market

The feds seize control of the nation's largest insurance company, and here in Howard, county officials stage their own intervention.

From HoCo PR:

Howard County Housing Purchases 300-Unit Apartment Community, Columbia Landing

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – The Howard County Department of Housing and Community Development announced today that the County’s Housing Commission has completed a $36 million acquisition of Columbia Landing, a 300-unit apartment community on Tamar Drive in Columbia.

“We have said from the beginning that offering moderate income housing was important to this Administration, and today’s announcement is proof of that,” said County Executive Ken Ulman.“With this acquisition, the Housing Commission has increased its portfolio size by 75%, from 400 units to 700 units,with a property that will pay for its own maintenance and operation, as well as help preserve affordability for families.”

The Housing Commission has retained the existing property management company, Equity Management, and will work closely with them to ensure a seamless transition and maintain a high level of service to the residents. The Commission plans to make about $1.2 million in renovations to the property over the next two years.

County Council Member Calvin Ball, whose district includes Columbia Landing, said he was very pleased with the Commission's acquisition of the property. "This is an important step forward for affordable housing in Howard County," said Ball.

The Housing Commission will continue to rent the same units at the same rates to the same tenants who are living there now; rent will stay the same. Additionally, the Housing Commission will begin to phase in some new renters who qualify at moderate-income levels–60% of the Baltimore area median household income (which is approximately $47,000 for a family of four). It is anticipated that eventually 40% of the units will be made available at rents that are affordable to those who otherwise could not afford to live in Howard County – such as teachers, government employees and military workers. The remaining 60% of the units will continue to be rented at market rates.

“Columbia Landing has served in the past as an affordable option in Columbia. This acquisition will ensure that this property will continue to be a high quality, mixed-income community that offers real choices to all of our citizens,” said Stacy L. Spann, the Commission’s Executive Director.

The Commission also expects the property to provide valuable cash flow which will decrease the County’s Department of Housing & Community Development and the Housing Commission’s dependence on federal government subsidies and the County transfer tax.

1 comment:

X_presso3877 said...

What percentage of Howard county residents are public servants which need housing assistance to live here? 40% seems a little high, and it might become unfeasible for the county to spend so much money.