HOME Program BackgroundThe National Affordable Housing Act of 1990 created the HOME Investment Partnerships Program. It is a federally funded, large scale grant program for housing administered by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). A formula allocates funds to participating jurisdictions, or “PJs”, the state and local governments who operate the program. Because it is a housing program with great flexibility, state and local governments have many choices about how to use these funds. The intent of the HOME program is to do the following:
- Expand the supply of decent, safe, sanitary and affordable housing, primarily rental housing
- Strengthen the abilities of state and local governments to provide housing
- Aassure that federal housing services, financing and other investments are provided to state and local governments in a coordinated, supportive fashion
HOME is designed as a partnership among the Federal government, state and local governments and those in the for-profit and non-profit sectors who build, own, manage, finance and support low-income housing initiatives. The program requires PJs to provide .25 to 1 match for all HOME funds.
HOME-assisted projects are designed to assist households with incomes at or below 80 percent of the area median. Depending upon the type of project (i.e. rental or homeownership) and the amount of HOME funding, housing constructed or rehabilitated with HOME must meet long-term affordability guidelines.
Eligible ActivitiesHOME can be used for a variety of activities, including purchase or rehabilitation assistance to eligible homeowners and new homebuyers, construction or rehabilitation of rental or homeownership housing, and "other reasonable and necessary expenses related to the development of non-luxury housing," including site acquisition or improvement, demolition of dilapidated housing to make way for HOME-assisted development, and payment of relocation expenses. HOME funds may also be used to provide tenant-based rental assistance (TBRA) to eligible households for up to 2 years.
CHDO Set AsideFifteen percent (15%) of HOME dollars is set-aside, by law, for special non-profits called Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDO). In Montgomery County, HomeStart, Inc., an affiliate of CountyCorp, is the designated CHDO. CHDOs can act as owner, sponsor, or developer of HOME-assisted housing projects, and CHDO set aside funds can be used for:
- Acquisition and/or rehabilitation of rental housing;
- New construction of rental housing;Acquisition and/or rehabilitation of homebuyer properties;
- New construction of homebuyer properties; and
- Direct financial assistance to purchasers of HOME-assisted housing that has
been sponsored or developed with HOME funds by the CHDO
Montgomery County HOME Program
Montgomery County has received a HOME allocation annually since 1992. Initially, HOME funds were combined with Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds and allocated as part of the Housing Initiatives Process. Beginning in 2009, HOME funds were included in the Combined Request for Proposals (RFP) issued by the Human Services Levy Council and Homeless Solutions Policy Board. The RFP covers emergency shelter and services for homeless persons, rental assistance for homeless and formerly homeless individuals and families, transitional housing, affordable housing, permanent supportive housing (PSH), homelessness prevention, and supportive services.
Following issuance of the annual RFP, proposals for projects are accepted until the identified deadline. The proposals are reviewed, and recommendations are made to the County Commissioners.
Past HOME Projects
- Rehabilitation of single-room occupancy units for low income single women at the downtown YWCA
- New construction and rehabilitation of PSH units
- New construction of rental housing for lower income families in suburban locations
- Purchase and rehabilitation of single-family units for long-term lease and eventual purchase by the lower income residents
- Purchase and rehabilitation of rental units in suburban areas for lease to lower income families
- Rehabilitation of units for homeless persons with mental illness
- Rehabilitation of group homes for teenage mothers and for troubled youth
- Homeowner rehabilitation for existing owners
- Homeowner rehabilitation in targeted neighborhoods
- TBRA for elderly and disabled tenants
- TBRA for troubled youth
- Purchase of homes for first time homebuyers moving from public housing
Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Program
This Federal program authorizes grants to States and units of general government and to certain private nonprofit organizations for the rehabilitation or conversion of buildings for use as emergency shelters for the homeless, for the payment of certain operating and social service expenses in connection with emergency shelters and for homeless prevention activities. It is designed to help improve the quality of existing emergency shelters, to help make available additional emergency shelters, to help meet the costs of operating such shelters and of providing certain essential social services to homeless individuals and families. The program is also intended to restrict the increase of homelessness through the funding of preventive programs. With the passage of the HEARTH Act, a shift was made to include funds for rapid re-housing.
Montgomery County has used its ESG funding for operating expenses for certain shelters and for selected supportive services. ESG funds are included in the Combined RFP. The County's goals have been to maintain existing programs, serve those groups that are underserved and to provide funding for purposes that other funding sources cannot fund. A 50% match is required by the ESG program, and this is provided by the Human Services Levy.
Montgomery County has traditionally received approximately $100,000 in ESG funds. However, in FY 2012 the county did not meet a programmatic threshold and was not awarded ESG funds. The following year (FY 2013), the County was allocated approximately $122,000.