Agency Spotlight: Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County
The Housing Opportunities Commission (HOC) of Montgomery County, Maryland, is dedicated to addressing the need for affordable housing and improving the lives of low- and moderate-income individuals and families. Established in 1974, the HOC has become a national leader in developing affordable housing solutions. By creatively responding to changing circumstances and collaborating with various stakeholders, the HOC has made significant strides in fulfilling its mission.
The Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County plays a vital role in addressing the affordable housing needs of the community. By providing affordable housing options, supportive services, and enrichment programs, HOC aims to improve the lives of individuals and families while strengthening communities. With its commitment to collaboration and innovation, HOC continues to be a driving force in the development of affordable housing and the promotion of economic stability in Montgomery County, Maryland.
Mission and Objectives
The primary mission of the Housing Opportunities Commission is to provide affordable housing and supportive services that enhance the lives of individuals and families throughout Montgomery County. The key objectives of the HOC are:
1. Eliminating substandard housing: The HOC aims to ensure that no one in Montgomery County is living in substandard housing by providing safe and quality affordable homes.
2. Strengthening families and communities: By acting as good neighbors and fostering positive relationships, the HOC strives to strengthen families and communities.
3. Creating an efficient and productive environment: The HOC emphasizes trust, open communication, and mutual respect in its operations to establish an efficient and productive environment.
4. Collaboration with advocates and providers: The HOC works closely with advocates and service providers to maintain support for all of its initiatives.
History of the HOC's Growth
Over the years, the HOC has adapted to the changing landscape of affordable housing. Initially, the HOC focused on developing federally funded public and assisted housing. However, as federal subsidies were reduced, the HOC began exploring alternative methods to produce affordable housing. This led to the issuance of tax-exempt mortgage revenue bonds to refinance privately owned developments, accommodating both low and moderate-income households. Eventually, the HOC transitioned to owning and developing new mixed-income housing developments. Today, the HOC's portfolio includes thousands of owned and leased properties, making a significant impact on affordable housing in Montgomery County.
Programs and Services
HOC operates as an affordable housing agency, a housing finance agency, and a housing developer. With the support of the Montgomery County government, the HOC manages several service programs to address housing needs. These programs include:
1. Affordable Housing Development: The HOC acquires Moderately Priced Dwelling Units (MPDUs) for rental to lower-income families.
2. Public Housing Management: The HOC ensures the maintenance of community norms and positive relationships between homeowner associations and public housing residents.
3. Services to Residents in Assisted Housing: The HOC provides counseling and support services to low-income individuals and families living in assisted housing.
4. Housing Resource Service: The HOC offers up-to-date information on available housing programs to help individuals navigate their housing options.
The HOC offers various rental assistance programs to help individuals and families access safe and affordable housing. The main rental assistance program is the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, through which the HOC administers vouchers that provide a rent subsidy to clients based on their income. These vouchers can be project-based or tenant-based, allowing flexibility in choosing suitable housing options.
Additionally, the HOC participates in the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) program, which provides housing assistance and support services to homeless military veterans. The HOC collaborates with the Veterans Affairs Medical Center to identify eligible veterans for the program.
In addition to housing assistance, the HOC offers enrichment programs and services through its Residents Services Division and HOC Academy. These programs aim to improve financial stability and provide personal and professional growth opportunities for individuals and families. The HOC Academy offers training and support for clients, including job placement assistance, financial literacy programs, and educational scholarships. Youth programs focus on STEM and STEAM education, summer employment, and college preparation through partnerships with organizations like Montgomery College.
Doing Business with the HOC
The HOC actively collaborates with individuals and organizations from both the private and public sectors. As a Housing Finance Agency and Real Estate Developer, the HOC engages in partnerships to expand affordable housing opportunities in Montgomery County. The HOC also works with external organizations and solicits bids and proposals from vendors interested in providing goods and services to support its programs and operations.
Recognizing the value of homeownership as an investment in the future, the HOC offers assistance to qualified buyers in Montgomery County. Through its Mortgage Purchase Program (MPP), the HOC provides home loans and down payment/closing cost assistance to make homeownership more attainable for low- and moderate-income residents. The program offers conventional financing options and collaborates with participating lenders to facilitate the home-buying process.
Commissioners of the Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County
The Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County operates under the guidance and leadership of a dedicated group of commissioners. These commissioners are appointed by the County Executive with the concurrence of the County Council and serve as the policy-making body of the agency. Let's take a moment to introduce the current commissioners:
1. Roy O. Priest - Chair
2. Fran Kelleher - Vice Chair
3. Jeff Merkowitz - Chair Pro Tem
4. Pamela Byrd
5. Linda Croom
6. Richard Y. Nelson Jr.
7. Jackie Simon
These commissioners volunteer their time and expertise to oversee the operations and decision-making processes of the Housing Opportunities Commission. They play a crucial role in shaping the direction and policies of the agency to better serve the community's affordable housing needs.
Commission meetings are held on a monthly basis and are open to the public. The next scheduled meeting is on Wednesday, July 12, 2023, at 4:00 p.m. These meetings provide an opportunity for community members to observe and engage with the commission. If you would like to address the commission during a meeting, you can complete the "Request to Address the Commission" form available on the HOC website and submit it to Jocelyn Koon, the Special Assistant to the Commission, via email.
In addition to the monthly commission meetings, the Housing Opportunities Commission has various committees that focus on specific areas of agency operations. The Administrative & Regulatory Committee (ARC) is one such committee. Their meetings are also open to the public, and the next scheduled ARC meeting is on Tuesday, June 20, 2023, at 4:00 p.m.
The commissioners and committee members are committed to serving the community and ensuring that the Housing Opportunities Commission fulfills its mission of providing affordable housing and supportive services. Their dedication and leadership contribute to the agency's ongoing efforts to strengthen families, improve housing conditions, and foster vibrant communities in Montgomery County.
If you would like to learn more about the commissioners, access meeting agendas or minutes, or participate in the commission meetings, you can visit the HOC website for detailed information.
If you would like to contact the Commissioners of Housing Opportunities Commission (HOC) of Montgomery County, there are a few ways you can email the Special Assistant to the Commission, Jocelyn Koon, at email@example.com or call at (240) 627-9421. They will be able to address any inquiries or direct you to the appropriate person or department within the commission. If you prefer to send a written letter or document, you can mail it to the following address:
Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County
Attn: Special Assistant to the Commission
10400 Detrick Avenue
Kensington, MD 20895
When reaching out to the commission, it's helpful to be specific about the nature of your inquiry or request. Provide relevant details and include your contact information so that the commission can respond to your message appropriately.
It's always a good idea to consult the HOC website or contact the commission for the most up-to-date and accurate contact information to ensure that your message reaches the intended recipient promptly.