Innovative Partnership Leveraging County Land for Deeply Affordable Housing Breaks Ground in Silver Spring

January 19, 2023 — AHC Inc. and Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland broke ground today on a 195-home, deeply affordable community.  The development is one of the largest new construction, affordable development of its kind in Montgomery County, Maryland, and includes 85 hard-to-find, family-sized, three- and four-bedroom homes. The community will co-locate rental and homeownership housing options and offer onsite resident services programming and childcare.

Located at 4010 Randolph Road, near the intersection of Veirs Mill Road, the development sits on 6 acres, with excellent access to schools, shopping, employment, and transit. Two future Bus Rapid Transit lines are scheduled to run past the community.  The site also fronts the County’s broadband access cable, which will help bridge the digital divide by offering low-cost internet access.

AHC will develop 168 affordable rental units across six new buildings. Habitat will develop and sell 27 affordable homeownership homes — 24 garden-style condominiums in two buildings and three single-family detached homes with Universal Design features.

The rental homes will be affordable to households earning 30% to 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI) – $42,700 to $85,380 for a family of four. The condominiums will be affordable at 30% to 50% AMI. The three single-family homes will be affordable at 70% AMI and use the unique Habitat for Humanity approach. With this approach, homeowners participate in the construction of their future homes that they purchase through a no-profit mortgage from Habitat.

“The vision for this community is to address several primary challenges facing many of our neighbors living on lower incomes – deeply affordable housing for larger families, access to transit, and the availability of childcare,” said Alan Goldstein, AHC’s Vice President of Real Estate Development. “We are thrilled that AHC’s mission-aligned partnership with Habitat for Humanity allows us to offer both affordable rental homes as well as homeownership opportunities.”

“This exciting project will be truly transformative for our future homebuyers. Through the partnership with AHC and Montgomery County, we are building deeply affordable homes for families unable to secure conventional mortgage financing due to market pressures,” says Jeff Dee, President & CEO of Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland. “We thank our partners for prioritizing affordable homeownership, helping to ensure equitable access to wealth building in our community.”

To help with the goal of creating more affordable housing, Montgomery County issued a request for proposals in 2019 to redevelop the land.  The land value coupled with reduced property taxes through the County’s PILOT program, and a substantial loan from the County’s Housing Initiative Fund enabled the transaction to close despite dramatic increases in both construction costs and interest rates.

“Since taking office in my first term, I have been focused on creative solutions to our long-standing affordable housing crisis. As I noted in my recent inaugural address, this will continue to be a priority in my 2nd term in office,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich.

“I am thrilled that this project is moving forward and that it includes homeownership options for low-income residents.  When we began discussing this project, I pushed for homeownership opportunities, and I’m grateful to our partners for making sure that was included. It is an outstanding, innovative project. I want to express my deep appreciation to the many who are making this happen, including of course the project developers AHC and Habitat for Humanity, our DHCA and DGS and other County staff as well as the strong support of the County Council.”

Key Features of the Development

In addition to large, family-sized units, the Randolph Road community will include a community center, onsite resident services staff and programming, a fitness center, and a half-acre public park with a playground, picnic area, inviting pedestrian walkways, and open lawn areas. Space will be available onsite for a future childcare provider.

The entire project will meet National Green Building Standards and Energy Star compliance, with increased building insulation, LED lighting, and WaterSense plumbing fixtures. In addition, the site will include six EV charging stations for residents – with the capability to add another 10 stations if the demand increases. The electrical infrastructure and roof are designed for solar energy panel installation.

The construction period is just over two years, and the community will be open by Spring 2025.

Funding, Design & Development Partners

AHC Inc.’s $86 million affordable apartment development successfully competed for a variety of local, state, and national funds, including $27 million in low-income housing tax credit equity (LIHTC); a nearly $24 million loan from the Montgomery County Housing Initiative Fund (HIF); a $500,000 loan from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta; and, from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Administration (DHCD), a $2 million Rental Housing Program loan, $3.5 million Rental Housing Works loan, and $300,000 in Maryland Energy Efficiency and Housing Affordability Program (MEEHA) funds. Hudson Housing Capital syndicated the LIHTC, which were purchased by Capital One.  Other sources include a construction loan from Capital One and a permanent mortgage loan originated by Capital One and guaranteed by Freddie Mac.

The design and development team includes Bonstra | Haresign Architects, Parker Rodriguez Landscape Architects, Johnson Bernat Associates (civil engineer), Kimley-Horn (traffic engineer), Harkins Builders (construction), Lerch Early Brewer (zoning attorney), and Klein Hornig (tax credit attorney).

 


Media Contacts

Jennifer Smith, AHC Inc., 571-556-7403, jennifer.smith@ahcinc.org

Jeff Dee, Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland, 202-997-5425, jeff.dee@habitatmm.org

Barry Hudson, Montgomery County, 240-777-6528, Barry.Hudson@montgomerycountymd.gov

AHC Residents Receive Free Chromebooks & Wi-Fi at The Spire

 

AHC residents of The Spire in Alexandria, Virginia, recently received free Chromebooks and two years of free Wi-Fi courtesy of a generous investment from Capital One. Capital One’s $174,000 investment helped AHC Inc. install the necessary equipment for a building-wide network, internet access through Comcast, and $25,000 to provide technical support and assistance to residents. Nearly 70 residents came down to sign up for internet services and their free Chromebooks.  

Representatives from Comcast were also present at the event to help sign eligible families up for free Wi-Fi for their homes for two years. Our Resident Services team is devising a plan to reach out to remaining households for internet sign-up, Chromebooks, and completing grant paperwork. 

Tackling Trauma with New Training Approach

 

This year, AHC took the important step of using a trauma-informed approach in working with residents. Why is this so important? 

“Recognizing the signs and symptoms of trauma in residents, families, and staff ultimately enhances our services and interactions,” explains Roxana Hernandez, Assistant Director of Community Engagement. “Some of our residents have complex histories that can involve physical, emotional and sexual abuse, domestic violence, poverty, and oppression.” 

Over the summer, AHC created a trauma-informed training plan and started training on basic trauma awareness and response for all our staff, plus the property management partners at AHC communities. More than 50 individuals have already been trained, and by the end of January, that number will reach 100. 

“The first step for AHC is creating a shared language around this initiative. Becoming a trauma-informed organization is not about changing the work we do, but about incorporating a trauma lens into the work we are already doing,” says Stefanie Bass, Assistant Director of Resident Services and lead trainer. “The work is about recognizing the humanness in us all and improving the tools we already have to respond to one another in a supportive way.”  

At the end of the day, AHC wants to make sure – through our policies, procedures, and practices – that we are helping build resilient communities and providing quality services. 

 

Posted December 7, 2022

Contact: Jennifer Smith, Director of Communications, jennifer.smith@ahcinc.org

AHC Students Start School In Style Thanks to Amazon’s Back-To-School Shop

A group of young students looks at a tablet while one boy smiles widely at the screen.

A group of young students looks at a tablet while one boy smiles widely at the screen.

Students from 26 Virginia-based AHC properties recently participated in Amazon’s free Back-to-School Shop at Harvey Hall Apartments. Nearly 500 students, along with their parents, hand-picked their own clothing, shoes, school supplies, and other items to help them start the school year on equal footing with their peers.     

Amazon’s Back-to-School Shop was a part of Amazon’s inaugural Global Month of Volunteering, an initiative dedicated to driving meaningful impact in the communities where Amazon employees live and work. The successful event hosted more than 250 families with the help of 90-plus volunteers from Amazon.   

The fun shopping experience started with a guided online shopping experience for up to $150 worth of clothing and personal items for each student. Next, each child walked over to choose from four walls stocked with various school supplies – water bottles, notebooks, erasers, mechanical pencils and more. The young scholars ended their experience with a fun visit to the sticker room. 

After touring the Back-to-School Shop, the grateful students left with a bag full of school supplies and smiles from ear-to-ear. Special thanks to our dedicated resident services team for ensuring that the heartwarming event ran smoothly. 

 

Posted September 14, 2022

Contact: Jennifer Smith, Director of Communications, jennifer.smith@ahcinc.org

AHC Greater Baltimore Selected for 2022 Thome Aging Well Grant

Thome Aging Well Program; EnterpriseAHC Greater Baltimore (AHC-GB) recently received a 2022 Thome Aging Well grant to support the expansion of physical and mental health services at MonteVerde, a 300-apartment community for residents 55+ and people who are disabled. The $250,000 grant focuses on treating substance misuse and high emergency room use, reflecting the disproportionate impact of COVID and lack of access to healthcare among black and minority older adults.

The Thome Aging Well program is a four-year, $19 million initiative from Enterprise Community Partners (Enterprise) to help older adults living in affordable communities age safely and securely at home.

“We appreciate this partnership with Enterprise and the Thome funding that will help more than 300 seniors, a rich part of our communities,” says Paul Bernard, President & CEO of AHC Inc. “The life-changing services afforded through this grant exemplify what AHC can provide in addition to housing. Linking people to the opportunity for services ensures we treat and respect the whole person.”

Funded by the Edward N. and Della L. Thome Memorial Foundation, Bank of America trustee, the program awarded $4 million in grants this year to scale aging-in-place initiatives with a track record of success by 16 housing operators and public housing authorities in Maryland and Michigan.

In total, the 2022 Thome Aging Well grants will provide essential support to over 4,000 older adults to help enhance wellbeing, reduce isolation and allow them to age with dignity in their homes. Best practices learned from the grantees will be shared across the field of affordable and public housing providers serving older adults.

“Far too many adults, especially those with lower incomes, do not have the resources and support they need to continue living comfortably in their homes as they grow older,” said Stephany De Scisciolo, vice president, Impact, Evaluation & Population Health, Enterprise. “The programs supported through the Thome Aging Well grants have proved successful at improving the health and wellbeing of older adults and will make an enormous impact on the lives of thousands in Maryland and Michigan. We are honored to partner with such remarkable organizations.”

 

Media Contact: Jennifer Smith, Director of Communications, jennifer.smith@ahcinc.org