Maryland's housing agency plans to provide homes for low- and moderate-income tenants in Montgomery and Price George's counties without help form any federal rental subsidies, according to a spokesman for the Community Deveopment Administration.
Proceeds from sales of $83.5 million in tax-exempt mortgage revenue bonds will pay for these and other housing projects throughout the state.
"We are proving you don't need subsidies to make these projects work," said John O'Connor, assistant director for multifamily programs at CDA. "We're trying to keep rents as low as possible for low- and and moderate-income people and still satisfy the housing need. And there is a big need all over the state."
A 468-unit apartment complex, to be called Rolling Hills, will go up in the Germantown area of Montgomery. Work is expected to begin next month on the $21 million project. Construction should be completed in about 15 months if work begins before Dec. 1 and if the foundations are in the ground before the start of severe winter weather, O'Connor said.
The CDA also plans major rehabilitation work on the Belle Haven, a 276-unit apartment building in Landover, in Prince George's County. The agency expects to have all the units finished within 19 months.
The two projects, and a 76-unit building to be constructed in Charles County, will be the first to charge the going rates for rent on the open market while providing housing that low- and moderate-income families can afford, said the CDA. The tenants will receive no government subsidies, and rents will be lowered in two stages, if necessary, until a total of 51 percent of the units are rented to lower-income families. The remaining apartments will be rented at market rates and will be available to any tenant, regardless of income.
Although no renters will receive subsidies, 20 percent of the tenants must meet income guidelines for federal Section 8 assistance. Those restrictions range from $15,000 to $24,300 in annual income, depending on family size. Another 31 percent must meet the income guidelines for CDA assistance, which range from maximums of $28,000 to $33,000, also depending on family size.
Rents in the buildings are "quite moderate," the CDA spokesman said, with one bedroom apartments renting for $310 a month and two-bedroom units for $345.
Three other developments are planned for residents who will receive federal Section 8 rental subsidies. These are a 111-unit building in Hagerstown, 101 units in Charles County, and 58 units in Frederick County.
The remainder of the funds from the bond sales will be used for six more developments across the state. The CDA said it has spent nearly $180 million on 3,100 units of rental housing this year, a spokesman said.