Kyla Sullivan spotted a sticker for the Howard County Housing Fair’s Housing Lottery on her weekly hometown newspaper. She showed it to her mother but didn’t think much of it.

“The sticker was the trigger,” Sullivan said. “From there, my mom was the one who said you should look into this. If it wasn’t for the sticker, we wouldn’t have even looked into it.”

Kyla Sullivan with her daughter celebrate after winning the Howard County Housing Fair’s Housing Lottery. (Howard County Housing)

Sullivan, a 30-year-old operations specialist for a finance firm, had been living with family members and looking for a place to rent. As a single mom with an 8-year-old daughter with special needs, Sullivan didn’t think home ownership was an option for her. But at her mother’s urging, she filled out the application for the lottery.  

The lottery is part of the annual Howard County Housing Fair, which takes place Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Long Reach High School, 6101 Old Dobbin Lane, Columbia. The free event features more than 55 mortgage lenders, home builders, remodelers, housing specialists, real estate experts and county agencies. There will also be 27 educational seminars, credit counseling and narrated bus tours of communities.

“It’s very informative,” Sullivan said. 

A three-bedroom townhouse in Ellicott City is one of the houses available in the Howard County Housing Fair Housing Lottery. (Ryan Homes)

Howard County’s Moderate Income Housing Unit Program is making two newly constructed homes available for purchase at a substantially reduced price through a lottery. The first is a three-bedroom, 2½-bathroom townhouse in Ellicott City for $221,154. The second is a single-family detached home with three bedrooms and two baths in Elkridge for $125,000.

A three-bedroom single-family home in Ellicott City is one of the houses available in the Howard County Housing Fair Housing Lottery. (North American Housing Corp)

The drawing to buy one of the homes is open to pre-qualified candidates who meet the income requirements. To be eligible for the drawing, all applications and paperwork must be received by 5 p.m. today.  

“It is for people who do work, do have jobs and want an opportunity to live in a nicer area than maybe they would have an opportunity otherwise,” Sullivan said.

Last year, Sullivan didn’t enter until the final day but managed to get all her paperwork together in time for the drawing. When she heard her name called that day, she was in disbelief.

“It was one of those things that you never think that you’ll win,” Sullivan said. “To win an opportunity like that was pretty phenomenal, especially the time that I was in the process of trying to figure out my living situation for me and my daughter. To have them say my name was pretty shocking.”  

Kyla Sullivan, with her daughter, is overcome with emotion after hearing her name called. (Howard County Housing)

Sullivan settled in May and moved into her three-bedroom, three-bathroom townhouse in Elkridge after her daughter finished school. Her new home is located not far from where she grew up. Sullivan says her daughter loves living there.

“She has her own room, decorated all girly,” she said. “She’s in heaven.”  

Sullivan hopes other hard-working single mothers will take advantage of the lottery and not be discouraged from home ownership because of their circumstances.  

“If you meet the qualifications, definitely apply,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity to have a chance to buy a home and to buy a home in a wonderful county.”

For more information about the Howard County Housing Fair or lottery, call 410-313-6318 and press option 4 or go to