The New Face of Affordable Housing in Anne Arundel County
Affordable rental housing today is widely misunderstood. In large part, this is true because the affordable housing is so attractive, well maintained, and professionally managed that people do not recognize it as anything different from other housing in their community. Indeed, it is not.
Affordable housing today, like other rental housing, is developed, owned, and managed by private entities. Investment in the housing comes primarily from private investors and banks, just like other rental housing. It must meet all the local development standards including adequate facilities. This means the affordable rental community must meet the school capacity and traffic impact standards just like any other development. As with other housing, owners of affordable rental housing pay property taxes, have admission standards residents must meet, and establish rents that residents must be able to pay. It looks like any other housing.
What makes affordable housing unique is that a portion of the financing and tax credits are provided by the State of Maryland. This allows the rents to be somewhat lower and requires residents to meet income eligibility requirements, typically at or below 60 percent of the median income in the area. This is $53,040 for a family of four in Anne Arundel County, about what a lower paid working family can expect to make. Affordable housing communities are more likely than other housing to offer residents an array of activities and supportive on-site services which helps residents to remain stable tenants and be productive members of the community.
What is Affordable Rental Housing like in Anne Arundel County?
While the County does not have enough affordable rental housing to meet the needs of the people and families who live and work in the County, we do have enough affordable housing communities to demonstrate the New Face of Affordable Housing. Housing built with the current programs blends seamlessly into the neighborhoods of which it is a part. Certainly, people with concerns about an affordable housing proposal can look at what exists and see how well it is working.
The County has 16 affordable communities, located around the County and in Annapolis. Today’s affordable housing is not public housing, which has not been built for over 40 years. In fact, most public housing in the County, consistent with federal policy, has or will be rehabilitated, sold, and converted to private ownership in the next decade. Some of the public housing included in the pages that follow have already undergone that transition and are indeed part of the New Face of Affordable Housing. It is false to think of any new affordable housing existing or proposed as having any similarities to public housing — that program is in the past.
Since a picture is worth a thousand words, we have prepared the following pages to show and tell you what affordable rental housing built under today’s programs is like and who the residents are. We have provided 2015 rental rates and average tenant income to show the range in residents served. We believe you will be impressed with the New Face of Affordable Housing in Anne Arundel County.