When Prince George’s County Council recently approved a $3.8 billion budget, affordable housing snagged a significant portion of the funds.
Approximately $5.1 million will be made available in the county’s Housing Trust Fund when fiscal year 2018 begins July 1.
The fund will be allocated to two programs – $2.6 million for workforce housing and $2.5 million for Pathway to Purchase – to compliment current federal and state plans to increase affordable housing.
“This is something we are all excited about,” Councilman Todd Turner (D-District 4) of Bowie said after council unanimously approved the budget.
He added it will be the first time since 2012 that the county has had a substantial amount of money in the trust fund.
The Pathway to Purchase plan allows qualified first-time homeowners to borrow up to $10,000 for a down payment and closing cost with a zero-percent interest loan. Because council approved the budget, an additional $5,000 will be available and offered to the first 150 eligible buyers.
Unlike previous housing programs that designated borrowers in certain locations in the county, Pathway to Purchase allows applicants to seek a home anywhere.
One of program’s requirements include a person must participate in a minimum eight-hour housing counseling course. All perspective homebuyers need to use one of the county’s approved counseling agencies that include United Communities Against Poverty of Capitol Heights, Housing Initiative Partnerships of Hyattsville and Greater Washington Urban League in Northwest.
Other requirements: Income must fall between 51 percent to 80 percent of the area median income; and loans will be forgiven after 10 years.
Eric Brown, director of the county’s Department of Housing and Community Development, said the workforce housing program assists those making 50 percent to 80 percent of the median income.
According to the department’s announcement on the program in March, developers will be informed to provide construction and rehabilitation to some homes.
Brown said as the homeownership rate rises, the county’s tax base also increases.
“What we’re doing is increasing the housing stock in Prince George’s County,” he said.