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The President & CEO's Blog

From John Paukstis, Habitat for Humanity of Metro Maryland, Inc.

Aging in Place

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Elias (our very first CAPABLE client) at his home in Kensington, MD. Elias is an older adult with high energy, a fun personality and many interests/hobbies. He was born on the border of Israel and Lebanon, has traveled and lived in various countries and can fluently speak in 5 different languages. Elias worked for the DC government for many years and now spends his time doing what he loves – studying different cultures and languages. He is currently studying Hebrew! These days, you can find Elias enjoying lunch every day at the Holiday Park Senior Center.

Elias

Elias has been living in his home for over 20 years now. His home was built in the early 1950’s and needed some work which is why he reached out to Habitat and we were glad to help! Habitat performed a home visit and a whole home audit to identify, create, and prioritize health and safety related repairs. 

Habitat performed numerous Weatherization Services, Home Repair Services, and accessibility modifications in Elias’s home which included:

  • Replacing 13 door knobs with lever style handles
  • Installing carpet treads on the interior steps to prevent falling
  • Installing a single handle shower valve in Master Bathroom
  • Installing a brand new garbage disposal in the kitchen sink
  • Installing grab bars throughout the master bathroom
  • Installing two Panasonic Whisper Bath Fans
  • Installing a Window Security Grill for the back door entrance
  • Installing exterior hand railings
  • Insulating the attic
  • Air sealing the home

Elias 2

 

If you or someone you know is interested in receiving services through our CAPABLE program, you can download the application HERE or contact our Repair Client Coordinator Rebecca Arce for more information at (301) 990-0014 x 19.

HFHMM CAPABLE is a supplemental and/or stand-alone program which serves older adults experiencing challenges with Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s) by providing a more holistic approach to the idea of Aging In Place. With the CAPABLE program, income qualified older adults are paired with an Occupational Therapist and Registered Nurse, both of whom will conduct a series of visits in order to assist in the identification of challenges, setting of goals, and outlining of action plans for those goals. Within the parameters of the program, Habitat for Humanity is able to provide minor home modifications per the recommendation of the occupational therapist, which are geared toward improving independence.

The Montgomery County Alliance Supports Accessory Dwelling Unit Legislation

Why Local Affordable Housing Organizations Support the Expansion of Accessory Dwelling Units

Like much of the United States, Montgomery County, Maryland is facing a housing crisis. Finding healthy, affordable housing near jobs and transit is extremely difficult for many people at varying income levels.

Earlier this year, Councilmember Hans Riemer introduced Zoning Text Amendment 19-01 with the intention of making it easier for County homeowners to build Accessory Dwelling Units or ADUs on their properties.  ADUs are separate apartments either within, attached to, or detached from a main unit. Think English basements, garage apartments, and small backyard cottages.

ADUs allow homeowners to flexibly use their largest asset, their home, as their family’s needs change. ADUs also provide important economic, social, and environmental benefits including:

  • Providing critical rental revenue to a senior living on fixed income and looking to Age in Place
  • Utilizing existing infrastructure to provide additional housing without increasing sprawl
  • Increasing housing opportunities around transit, near jobs, and in desirable communities
  • Providing opportunities for multigenerational living while maintaining independence for all parties
  • Habitat for Humanity could build ADUs for low to moderate residents or for adults with disabilities

Importantly, ADUs provide opportunities for families who cannot afford to buy a home, to access housing in areas of the County which are generally inaccessible to them otherwise. Much of Montgomery County is zoned for single family, detached homes. With an average home value of $450,000, many potential homebuyers are priced out of the market and unable to save a down payment due to the high cost of rent and living. ADUs offer an opportunity to expand housing options in highly desired neighborhoods, helping make our communities more diverse, no matter socioeconomic status, race, or ethnic identity.

While we cannot guarantee that ADUs will be rented at or below market, studies from areas with large numbers of ADUs show that many units are rented below market rate and are affordable to families with modest incomes. Moreover, ADU size restrictions will limit the amount of rent that can be charged. Either way, renting an ADU is more accessible to families than buying a home in the same neighborhood.

We believe that ZTA 19-01, with amendments unanimously approved by the Planning, Housing, and Economic Development committee, balances the desire of homeowners to build ADUs with concerns from the community around short-term rentals, parking, and storm water management.

  • Short-term rentals, including Airbnb, are explicitly prohibited and homeowners are required to live in either the main unit or the ADU. Both units cannot be rented at
  • The amendments recommend waiving the additional parking requirement within one mile of a metro station. That said, additional off street parking is still required outside of the one mile metro radius at the same level as is currently required.
  • Under the ZTA, detached ADUs continue to be treated as accessory structures and must comply with the same lot coverage ratios deemed acceptable, in terms of storm water management, for a garage or shed.

The expansion of Accessory Dwelling Units will not solve the affordable housing crisis, but we believe it is a critical tool in providing increased housing opportunities in desirable neighborhoods. We strongly encourage residents and councilmembers to support ZTA 19-01.

Montgomery Housing Alliance
Action in Montgomery, Coalition for Smarter Growth, Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland, Housing Opportunities Commission, Interfaith Works, Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless, Montgomery Housing Partnership, Rebuilding Together, and Victory Housing

The Montgomery Housing Alliance is a coalition of organizations focused on increasing the rate of preservation and development of affordable housing in Montgomery County. Members that include non-profit developers, for-profit developers with a specific interest in affordable housing, non-profit organizations that serve people in need of affordable housing, and other groups who count affordable housing as one of their policy goals.

Groundbreaking for New Construction

We are very excited about breaking ground for the new construction of Universal Design, single family houses in Prince George’s County.  On Friday, March 22, over 50 members of the community, consisting of government, business, faith groups and members of the Habitat Board of Directors, attended a ceremony to launch the building of an affordable and healthy house in the Town of Fairmount Heights.

Shovels

The vacant lot where the house will be built was purchased by Habitat from Prince George’s County.   Several other single family lots are in Habitat’s pipeline for new construction as well.

About Universal Design Homes…..

Universal Design focuses on building homes that are accessible to all regardless of age or ability, accommodating families throughout their life cycle.  For example, a no step entry makes access easy for parents with strollers and those in wheelchairs. Also, each home has two bathrooms, one with a walk in shower and the other includes a tub with a seat for easy bathing of children.  We’re excited about this flexible and thoughtful design focused on a family’s needs over many years.

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Special thanks go to Stephanie Anderson, attorney with O’Malley, Miles, Nylen & Gilmore, P.A., and a member of the Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors for providing the Welcome & Overview.

Special remarks were given by Congressman Anthony Brown, Maryland’s 4th District, Ken Sonner, Senior Vice President, Old Line Bank, and Eddie Quinn, Chief Financial Officer, TW Perry.

A blessing of the construction site was provided by Pastor R. Kevin Matthews, The Shepherd’s House ICC.

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In addition to Stephanie Anderson, other members of the Habitat board included Vice Chair, Loretta Sevier, and Edward W. Hummers, Jr., and former board member Buck Bartley, The Bartley Corp.

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We were pleased to have Marvin Turner, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Jolene Ivey, Prince George’s Council Member District #5 join the celebration as well.

Habitat for Humanity believes that housing affordability is a fundamental human right.  You can get more information about our work by visiting our web site  www.habitatmm.org

Habitat is currently taking applications for homeownership as well!

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Action in Montgomery (AIM)

Last Thursday, hundreds of faith based community residents attended a rally at Bethel World Outreach Church in Olney.  The purpose of this meeting was to secure commitments from Montgomery County government officials for equity in education, immigration, and affordable housing.  I was impressed by the great energy in the room and the wonderful music provided by the Bethel World Outreach Choir.

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Bethel World Outreach Choir

In attendance was Marc Elrich, County Executive, and County Councilmembers Evan Glass, Hans Riemer, Will Jawando, Sidney Katz and Gabe Albornoz.

Bishop Darlingston Johnson, Pastor of Bethel World Outreach Church welcomed everyone to the church followed by an opening prayer by Pastor Haywood Robinson III, Peoples Community Baptist Church.

There were several questions for elected officials in attendance:

Education

  1. Will you (county officials) commit to expand the Excel Beyond the Bell Elementary program, including parent leadership training, to at least two additional schools this year? All confirmed their support for education.
  2. Will you commit to funding school construction for South Lake and Burnt Mils in the FY 2020 Capital Budget? All confirmed their support for more school funding.
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Councilmember Katz
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Councilmember Albornoz

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Councilmember Glass

Immigration

  1. Will you sustain or increase the $370,000 in grants to fund legal services for residents at-risk of deportation or in deportation proceedings during FY 2020? The County Executive plans to increase grant funding in the FY 2020 budget and councilmembers voiced their support.
  2. In the next two weeks, will you send AIM a list of 5 partners with whom we can jointly meet to ask for additional funding? All confirmed their support.
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Councilmember Jawando
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Councilmember Riemer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Affordable Housing

  1. County Executive Elrich has committed to write a letter to the WMATA Board (Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Area), asking them to halt the sale or lease of WMATA land in Montgomery County until they meet with AIM and our elected officials to prioritize affordable housing on this land. All agreed to support this strategy.
  2. County Executive Elrich, we are asking you tonight to use your power to identify 3-5 parcels of public land for affordable housing development in the next 3 months, and to start the process of developing them by the end of the calendar year. County Executive Elrich said he thinks he could identify 3-5 parcels of land for affordable housing development.
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County Executive Elrich

This session was followed by a Call to Action by Pastor Charles Tapp, Sligo Seventh-day Adventist Church

The closing prayer was led by Pastor Chris Posch, St. Camillus Catholic Church.

For more information about AIM click here

AmeriCorps Week

Do you know anyone who served as a member of AmeriCorps?

AmeriCorps members play a vital role in contributing to the mission of creating affordable housing and responding to disaster relief in many parts of the U.S.  Many members volunteer on Habitat construction sites and in Habitat offices for one to two years, then go on to continue their education or are hired by nonprofit or for profit corporations.

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AmeriCorps is a voluntary civil society program supported by the U.S. federal government, foundations, corporations, and other donors engaging adults in public service work with a goal of “helping others and meeting the critical needs in the community.”  www.nationalservice.gov

The AmeriCorps program is often seen as a domestic Peace Corps. It employs more than 75,000 Americans in intensive service each year for a small stipend.  Habitat affiliates alone have hosted more than 10,600 members to date that have provided more than 17 million hours of service, engaged 3.9 million volunteers, and served 115,500 families.  These members play a critical role in increasing the capacity of non-profits to serve more families across the country.

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We celebrate and thank those who have served with our affiliate over the years.

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