Do We Need more Affordable Housing in Montgomery County?

October 17, 2013 Comments off

Since 2008, the Montgomery County Council has been reviewing the zoning code.  The current zoning code hasn’t comprehensively been rewritten since the late 1970’s.  Of course, Montgomery County has changed a lot since the 70’s.

The Silver Theater in Silver Spring in 1953

picture from The Washington Post, via the Silver Spring Historical Society

The Silver Theater in 2010

photo from Biketripper on Flickr.

Many changes may be made regarding the zoning code which could affect the opportunity for affordable housing in the county. On August 29 I attended a meeting with several other non-profit housing agencies in Montgomery County to discuss the County’s housing Gaps and Goals.    Below are two of the perceived gaps in the housing policy that I feel most affect HFH-MC:

  • A greater push for affordable housing near transit nodes

    photo from


  • A better utilization of County owned land to fill the affordable housing gap

picture from the Parents’ Coalition of Montgomery County, Maryland

If you would like to voice your support of preserving the existing affordable housing stock, increasing the number of affordable housing units, and have affordable housing be seriously considered when County-owned land is made available through re-zoning please contact the County Council members that sit on the Planning, Housing, and Economic Development (PHED) Committee.  With your help, we will hopefully be able to persuade the County Council to preserve the existing affordable housing stock and even increase the number of affordable housing units in the County.

Habitat for Humanity defines persons in need of affordable housing are those whose income is less than 60 percent of the area median income.  The median family income for 2013 has been calculated to $107,500.

HFH-MC’s 8th Annual Golf Classic

June 27, 2013 Comments off

On May 31st, 2013 Habitat for Humanity – Montgomery County, MD held the 8th Annual Golf Classic at the Whiskey Creek Golf Club in Ijamsville, MD.  It was a very successful event, thank you to all those who’ve helped make it so.  It looked like everyone had fun, I know I did.



A big “Thank You”

The event wouldn’t have been a success without the hard work and dedication by the 2013 Golf Committee:

Chip Bay
Flo Hunt
John Lippincott
Jerry O’Neill
Rachael Rice
Melissa McFarland
Roxanne Ladd
Mike Smith

I would also like to thank all of the golf tournament sponsors:


Survivor Bag Sponsors
Elm Street Development
The Anderson Company
Enterprise Realty Services
Power Design, Inc.
PNC Bank
Urban Atlantic, LLC
Sandy Spring Bank
Ruppert Landscaping
Gaithersburg Cabinetry and Millwork

Tee Sponsors
Bernard Wolfe and Associates, Inc.
Cates Engineering
Century Ford of Mt. Airy
Champion Title
DeLeon and Stang
ECS Mid-Atlantic, LLC
Ellen Lighting
Jones Lang LaSalle
Key Bank
Land Design, Inc
Llewellyn Realtors
McClone Construction Company
Merril Lynch
Metromont Corporation
Mito Insulation, Inc
Natelli Homes
Revolution Window Systems, Inc
Richter and Associates
Tadjer-Cohen-Edelson Associates, Inc
TD Industries
The Bainbridge Companies
The Concordia Group
Urgo Hotels
Venable Foundation
Washington Gas

Once again, thank you to everyone who helped make the Golf Classic a success for the 8th year in a row.  Your generosity and support allows us to create projects like the Maple Hill Subdivision.


All photos courtesy of Jessica Notargiacomo of Paired Images

Help Your Community – Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity

May 16, 2013 Comments off

Are you looking for a rewarding/refreshing experience?  Why not become a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity – Montgomery County, MD.  We are always looking for volunteers for the cause, not just for one day builds.  Here are some opportunities for you to volunteer with HFH-MC:


Please check out the upcoming events to see where and when you can volunteer. If you aren’t sure in what capacity you would like to volunteer with HFH-MC, we have a monthly optional volunteer information session where we share with you the many ways to volunteer with Habitat, including construction.  The meetings are held on the 2nd Wednesday of each month at noon and the 4th Wednesday of each month at 7pm at our office in Gaithersburg, unless otherwise noted.


HFH-MC Volunteer Fun Facts

  • More than 80% of all volunteer hours in 2012 were in volunteering in ReStore.
  • Habitat ReStore is almost entirely volunteer run.
  • Volunteers logged in over 19,860 hours in 2012.


Extraordinary Volunteers

National Volunteer Week was April 21-27 this year, and I would like to say thank you to all who have donated your time, skills and resources this year at Habitat for Humanity – Montgomery County, MD and at the ReStore.  We wouldn’t be able to touch as many lives in our community without your continued help.

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Global Village Trip – El Barrial

April 4, 2013 Comments off

Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County, Maryland (HFH-MC), has partnered with Habitat for Humanity El Salvador to build 45 new homes and rehab 45 existing homes over the next four years (2013-2017) in the El Barrial Community in Morazan, El Salvador.   This project is unique because it is being funded fully by the tithing from HFH-MC and 7 other Maryland affiliates.  There will be at least one building trip a year to El Salvador to complete the project. This summer, we actually have three opportunities  to start the project. Each one will be quite an adventure.

About the El Barrial Community

109 families live in the El Barrial Community today and growing.  The area was hard hit during the Salvadoran Civil War (1980-1992) – some of the families were able to escape and take refuge in Honduras.  After the Civil War, 80 families returned to the area to rebuild what they lost during the war, and they are continuing to do so.


2013 Summer Trips

If you would like to help us provide an opportunity to help change these people’s lives, please come with us on one of our three trips this summer.  This opportunity allow you to see how these people are living and allow you to help fulfill their hopes and dreams; all while you get your heart and spirit touched by helping them fulfill their hopes and dreams.


The first two opportunities will be from July 19th – 28th.   One is a build trip while the other one is a build and advocacy trip.   These two trips are 10 days which allows for building days and cultural activities; and if you go on the build and advocacy trip there will be two days of advocacy. I am co-leading the third trip that will be in El Salvador from July 27th-August 4th that will just be a build trip that will last for nine days with the same type of schedule.


If you are interested in learning more about this project, please contact myself or Sarah Reddinger.

Habitat for Humanity ReStore

February 14, 2013 Comments off

Habitat for Humanity ReStore® is a non-profit retail outlet specializing in the resale of quality new and previously owned building materials, home furnishings and appliances at 50-75% off retail prices. Proceeds help fund the construction of Habitat homes and a help fund a tithe to Habitat for Humanity International.

HFH-MC ReStore.

We receive quality new and previously owned building materials, home furnishings and appliances from you, the people of Montgomery County.  If you are remodeling or demolishing your home, please contact our ReStore to see if we can accept your donations.  This could be a great way for you to recycle your unwanted goods.  See below of all the items that we currently accept.

What We Accept

All appliances accepted
Any condition
Area Rugs New or excellent condition
Cabinets Must be complete units, structurally intact; must have doors, shelving, display racks, etc.; single cabinets (pieces) will be taken on a case by case basis
Flooring material Vinyl no less than 25 sq ft., new hardwood complete boxes, ceramic tile no less than 25 sq ft. *We do not accept scraps of any type of flooring materials.
Furniture:Sofas, love seats, coffee tables, bedroom furniture, dining room Must be good to excellent condition (no tears, stains, etc.), structurally intact. We do not accept used mattresses or commercial office furniture.
Lighting: Kitchen/dining room chandeliers and sconces, compact florescent bulbs, lamps (standing/table top) Must be working with all parts
Lumber Millwork (clean, trim/millwork must be 7’ or longer), vinyl base, decking material, fencing material, de nailed/de stapled
Mirrors Mirrors with frames only. We do not accept unframed mirrors or glass
Plumbing Must be complete, very clean, and in good condition; heavy duty faucet fixtures, faucets, parts, pedestal sinks, toilets (1.6 gallon/low flush only)
Roofing New
Windows Only matching sets, insulated glass; we do not accept sashes

Please note, all donations must be in working order and clean. We are unable to accept any donations which are broken, torn, frayed, or dangerous in anyway. We reserve the right to decline a donation based on store capacity and/or our ability to resell the items.

Demolishing your Home?

Are you planning on demolishing your current home and would you like to find an environmentally responsible alternative to demolition? We can go in and deconstruct your house to find the salvageable items.  All salvageable items are then sold to the public at Habitat ReStore or repurposed for use on the Habitat build site.

Looking for Great Home Deals?

Are you a college student looking to furnish your on/off campus apartment? Or someone who is always looking for great deals?  Please checkout our Virtual Showroom.  New items come in daily.

New Store

HFH-MC has been approved to build a second ReStore in Montgomery County and we are hoping to be able to have it in Silver Spring.  I can’t wait to share more information with you along the way as we build our second store.

HFH-MC: a Green Business

December 20, 2012 Comments off

Green Business Logo

I would like to proudly announce that Habitat for Humanity – Montgomery County, MD  (HFH-MC) is now a certified Green Business in Montgomery County, MD!  We received the notice on October 11, 2012 from the Department of Environmental Protection and the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce.

The Green Business Program recognizes voluntary efforts to protect, preserve and improve the environment. To be certified as a green business, HFH-MC had to demonstrate our commitment to environmental stewardship, conservation of energy and water, carbon footprint reduction, and waste reduction and recycling. As one of fewer than 50 Certified Green Businesses in Montgomery County, and only five nonprofits, HFH-MC is proud of this achievement.

As a part of our application for our Green Business Certification, HFH-MC was required to create an environmental policy which will be used to help keep our Office, ReStore and Construction sites on the Green path. The policy discusses how we are handling the following topics:

Waste Reduction and Recycling

Environmentally Responsible Purchasing

Pollution Prevention

Energy Management

Water Conservation

Transportation and Travel

We encourage other businesses in the County to join the green effort and become a Certified Green Business. Find out how by visiting the Montgomery County Green Business Certification website.

There are many advantages of being a certified Green Business:

Enhanced Reputation and Recognition

Competitive Advantage

Save Money

Align your Operations with your Values

… Oh, I almost forgot to mention a big perk of going “green” in the county: HFH-MC’s name is now on a Ride-On bus.

Name on Bus

HFH-MC’s 30th Anniversary

November 15, 2012 Comments off

HFH-MC celebrated its 30th anniversary on October 4, 2012 at the Rooftop at Rockville Town Center.  Thank you to the many event sponsors and attendees that made the event a success.  The event raised nearly $75,000 to help fund the Maple Hill project, a 19-townhouse subdivision that HFH-MC is building in the City of Gaithersburg.


During this celebration, HFH-MC was honored to receive citations and proclamations from the office of U.S. Congressman Chris Van Hollen (MD-8), Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, and Ryan Spiegel, Councilmember of the City of Gaithersburg.

Receiving the proclamation from the City of Gaithersburg.

For the past three decades, HFH-MC dynamically lived the mission of transforming lives for many residents of Montgomery County by providing affordable housing for working families who live in substandard conditions.

Why is affordable housing important?

Several studies show that some of the potential benefits of homeownership are:

  • Greater educational achievement and moral growth of children
  • Lower community crime rates
  • Lessened welfare dependency
  • More family participation in civic affairs
  • Better physical health

During the last several years, HFH-MC acquired and redeveloped foreclosed or abandoned properties that might become sources of blight within their communities.  An average of $50,000 was spent to redo each house, including gutting the kitchens and baths, installing updated electric, plumbing, Energy Star windows and fixtures.  Each house is well insulated to keep energy bills low.  When HFH-MC rehabilitates or constructs a new home for a low-income family, the community wins too!  Economic benefits for Habitat homeowners are generated, as well as, for Montgomery County and the State of Maryland.

So the challenge in the years to come is to work with community leaders to identify land that is unclaimed and suitable for affordable housing.  This might be land that was originally earmarked for roads, schools, or county facilities.  HFH-MC’s objective is to re-purpose this type of land so that the affordable housing crisis in Montgomery County is stopped.  Do you know of any other way to find land for affordable housing?


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