Who are we?
The Housing Opportunities Commission is a government organization that administers federal, state, county, and private affordable housing programs.
We are the public housing agency for Montgomery County. We develop housing; provide mortgage financing to developers and first-time homebuyers; manage public housing and other rental units; administer rental subsidy programs, including the Housing Choice Voucher Program; and provide counseling and support services to lower income individuals and families in assisted housing.
HOC is governed by seven volunteer commissioners, who are appointed by the County Executive to serve five-year terms and confirmed by the County Council. The Commission usually meets on the first Wednesday of each month. As of April 2011, the Chair of the Commission is Sally Roman.
Where are our offices located?
HOC has two offices in Kensington, two in Gaithersburg, and one in Silver Spring, as well as many individual property management offices located in our developments around the County.
HOC’s headquarters is at 10400 Detrick Ave, Kensington. The main phone number for the agency is (240) 627-9400. Offices located in the Detrick Ave. building include: the Commission Office; the Executive Director; the Chief of Staff; Human Resources; Housing Resources; Public Affairs; Real Estate Development, Mortgage Finance, Information Technology; parts of Resident Services; and the Finance Division.
HOC has an office at 231 East Deer Park Dr., Gaithersburg. The phone number there is (240) 627-9744. The East Deer Park office handles property management and maintenance for all scattered site HOC properties; resident services for scattered sites; and emergency services for HOC residents living in upper Montgomery County.
The Gaithersburg Customer Service Center is located at 101 Lakeforest Boulevard, Gaithersburg. This upcounty office provides walk-in service for clients participating in HOC programs. Staff from Housing Resources and Resident Services are available to assist with routine paperwork and emergency assistance.
The Silver Spring Customer Service Center is located at 8241 Georgia Avenue, 3rd Floor, Silver Spring. This downcounty office provides walk-in service for clients participating in HOC programs. Staff from Housing Resources and Resident Services are available to assist with routine paperwork and emergency assistance.
What programs do you have that provide rental assistance?
There are many:
Public Housing. Federally subsidized housing owned and managed by HOC, public housing serves families, elderly, and non-elderly disabled individuals. Residents pay 30% of adjusted income for rent. Applicants must apply for this program through HOC when the public housing waiting list opens. Households qualify for public housing by income and are offered housing when units become available.
Housing Choice Voucher Program. Formerly known as Section 8, this federal program provides rental subsidies to income-eligible households. Applicants receive a voucher that entitles them to rent an apartment in the private marketplace, while limiting their rental payment to 30-40% of their adjusted income. HOC pays the landlord the remaining portion of the rent. The maximum amounts that HOC can pay are determined by HUD. As of April 2012, HOC had 5,776 vouchers in service. HOC's waiting list is always open and can be accessed at www.hochousingpath.com.
Section 236 Housing. This federal program, which ended in 1978, subsidized mortgages down to 1%, much below market rates. Residents pay either a basic rent or 30% of income, whichever is higher. Because of the basic rent requirement, these properties assist those of moderate income, rather than very low income. HOC manages Bauer Park and Town Center for the elderly and Camp Hill Square, Georgian Court, Stewartown Homes, and The Willows for families.
Section 8 New Construction. HUD contracted with some builders to build properties which would have Section 8 subsidies that stay with the unit and are called "project-based". HOC owns four such properties: Chelsea Tower, Magruder’s Discovery, Paint Branch, and Shady Grove Apartments.
Opportunity Housing. This is a non-technical term that HOC uses for its broad range of non-federally subsidized housing types owned by HOC and located throughout the County. They may be multifamily developments or scattered sites. Usually, they serve lower or moderate income people, rather than those of very low income. Some of HOC’s multifamily Opportunity Housing developments are Chevy Chase Lake, Fairfax Court, Greenhills, Pooks Hill Tower, Sligo Hills, and Tanglewood.
Mixed Income Properties. HOC is a national leader in developing mixed income housing, a type of Opportunity Housing which includes market rate units and affordable units in the same development. The rents on the market rate units, which may be either moderate or high end luxury rents, subsidize the lower rents on the affordable units. HOC’s mixed income portfolio includes The Barclay, The Glen, The Oaks at Four Corners, Montgomery Arms, and Spring Gardens as moderate mixed income developments and MetroPointe, Alexander House, The Metropolitan, Pooks Hill Mid-Rise, Strathmore Court, Timberlawn Crescent, and Westwood Tower as high end mixed income developments.
Low Income Housing Tax Credit Partnerships. The federal government makes available tax credits to be used to fund affordable housing. Investors, usually local businesses, purchase the tax credits, thus lowering their tax burden, and enter into partnership with HOC to purchase housing that is rented to moderate income households. HOC manages 467 scattered site units that were funded this way, as well as Manchester Manor and Pond Ridge multifamily developments.
Scattered Sites. HOC owns about 1600 scattered site units, which are individual units located throughout the County. Most often, they are townhouses purchased through the Moderately Priced Dwelling Unit (MPDU) program operated by the County. The MPDU law requires that any development of over 50 units must include about 12-15% moderately priced units. One-third of these are offered for sale to HOC. Over the years, HOC has acquired units, using funding from public housing, the State Partnership Rental Housing Program, Low Income Housing Tax Credits, the McHome program, and other sources. Rental of the scattered site units, other than public housing units, is handled through the East Deer Park office at (240) 627-9744.
Rental Supplement Program. This is a County-funded program in five privately owned rental properties. It provides a shallow rental subsidy of $250 to $350 per month to working poor households. The program is administered by the individual properties and monitored by HOC. Approximately 200 households are served per year. For more information, call (240) 627-9735.
There are a few different ones.
Supportive Housing Program. This program provides subsidized housing, case management, and intensive services to 170 previously homeless households in nine different programs funded by Montgomery County and HUD. Three-fourths of the units are permanent housing for adults with disabilities, and one-fourth are transitional units for families who remain in the program for up to two years. Households must be homeless and utilizing services through the County before they are eligible to be referred for the program. For more information, call (240) 627-9704.
State Rental Allowance Program (RAP). Homeless households can receive one to two years of rental assistance through this program. Clients must be referred through a County service provider, who must agree to provide case management during the period of RAP assistance. HOC serves about 45 households per year. For more information, call (240) 627-9735.
RAP to Work Program. This State funded program provides assistance similar to the RAP program, but specifically for welfare-to-work families. Participants must meet requirements related to Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) and work requirements. They must be referred through the County Department of Health and Human Services and receive case management during the period of RAP assistance. HOC serves about 40 families per year. For more information, call (240) 627-9735.
Shelter Plus Care. This HUD grant program provides rental assistance to 45 homeless singles with mental illness. Participants rent units in the private market and pay 30% of their income toward rent. The County provides intensive mental health services to all participants. Participants must be homeless, participating in County services, and referred by homeless service providers to enter the program. For more information, call (240) 627-9735.
Family Unification Program. This Section 8 set-aside program provides rental assistance to families at risk of foster care placements due to lack of housing or who can be re-unified if housing is secured. Families must be identified through the County Department of Health and Human Services and receive case management services from the County. For more information, call (240) 627-9700.
Veterans Administration Housing Support (VASH). This is a Section 8 set-aside program which provides rental assistance to homeless veterans with severe psychiatric or substance abuse disorders. Veterans must be screened by the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center and receive comprehensive health and other community-based supportive services.
What services are available for HOC residents?
HOC offers a wide array of programs to support and enrich the lives of our residents.
Core Counseling Services. Resident Counselors are assigned to public housing units, both multifamily and scattered sites, and elderly as well as family units; to other scattered sites; to other selected multifamily properties; and to the Housing Choice Voucher Program. Counselors provide crisis intervention, complaint resolution, information and referral, and counseling with the goal of helping residents retain their housing, maximize potential, and increase self-sufficiency. For more information, call (301) 929-2360.
Family Resource Centers. HOC has five centers which provide a broad range of activities and services which help residents pursue their education, improve their skills, provide positive activities for children and youth, and promote healthy family and social interactions. For more information, call (240) 627-9727.
Emergency Assistance. Staff at Detrick Ave., East Deer Park, and the County HHS Silver Spring office assist HOC residents with emergency assistance such as eviction prevention and utility disconnect prevention. For more information, call (301) 929-2360.
Substance Abuse Prevention Program. The Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator addresses problems of substance abuse among HOC residents through education programs, assessments, interventions, referrals to treatment, monitoring, and follow-up. For more information, call (240) 631-1856.
Family Self-Sufficiency Program (FSS). This program assists families in public housing and the Housing Choice Voucher programs to achieve self-sufficiency over a five-to seven-year period and to end dependency on all public benefits such as welfare, food stamps, medical assistance, and child care subsidies. HOC has a maximum of 441 households participating in this program. For more information, call (240) 627-9781.
Employment Initiative Program. Through support groups, training programs, volunteer work experiences, and job opportunities, this program helps HOC residents reach for jobs with livable wages and career potential. For more information, call (301) 929-6786.
Services to People with Disabilities. This program has the mission of improving HOC’s service to people with disabilities in a manner which is practical, cost-effective, and in compliance with pertinent laws and regulations. For more information, call (240) 627-9705.
Housing Counseling Program. This State-funded program assists low-income families or singles who are homeless or in imminent danger of becoming homeless to locate, secure, and maintain permanent housing. Clients must be referred by a case manager from a County service provider, and clients must have either a subsidy or enough income to afford market rate housing. For more information, call (240) 627-9735.
Volunteer Program. HOC’s Volunteer Coordinator expands and enhances HOC programs agency-wide through the recruitment and placement of volunteers. The program also seeks donations of resources and services. For more information, call (240) 627-9731.
I am a developer. How can I partner with HOC?
The HOC Multifamily Mortgage Financing program. HOC provides low interest mortgage financing to private developers, both for-profit and non-profit, by issuing tax-exempt revenue bonds. A portion of these units are set aside for rent to low and moderate income households.
What is our mission?
Our mission is to provide affordable housing and supportive services to low and moderate income households in Montgomery County.