Frederick County Work Session
Topics and Presentations
Dara Dann, Housing Programs Manager COG
II. Arlington County's Affordable Housing Trust Fund design and administrationKen Aughenbaugh, Housing Director Arlington County
Elizabeth Davison, Director of Housing anc Community Development Montgomery County
The Washington Area Housing Partnership organized a presentation on Monday, May 8th with the Affordable Housing Council in Frederick County. The work session was focused primarily on Housing Trust Funds. The Frederick County Board of Commissioners recently approved $1 million in seed money to act as a County trust fund for affordable housing. Ken Aughenbaugh, Housing Director in Arlington County, Elizabeth Davison, Housing Director of Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs, and Stephanie Killian, Multifamily Programs Manager of Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs were all on hand to share their experiences helping their respective Counties create and administer a successful trust fund. The focus of the discussion involved four key areas of concern for local governments and housing departments administering the funds. These included:
1. Setting Goals: After the money has been approved the Jurisdiction should create goals the money should be used to address. Elizabeth Davison's presentation outlined the 6 goals of the Montgomery County Housing Initiative Fund which focused on such issues as renovating distressed properties and preserving housing that could be lost from the affordable housing stock.
2. Sources of Revenue: The source of revenue element is a crucial component of the fund. Montgomery County currently uses 2.5% of property taxes which acts as a reliable and dedicated source of future money to be used. Arlington County uses two funds which have different sources of revenue. The first is Arlington County's Affordable Housing Investment Fund, which acts as the County's primary financing program for affordable housing. The second, Arlington County's Housing Investment Fund is comprised of local and federal dollars. Arlington County's Housing Investment Fund is financed through private developer contributions.
3. Consistent Funding: The importance of consistent funding not only allows more funding for affordable housing developments, but it also adds more credibility to the Jurisdiction's housing department when working with developers. Due to the nature of projects taking more than one year, it is important to create a stable source of funds. Then, the developers know they can count on the funding, even though a development may take one or two years to complete.
4. Administering the Fund: Administering the fund typically starts with a developer submitting an application to the housing department. The application is reviewed and later approved by a designated committee, individual, or the City/County Council. Elizabeth Davision stated that during the review process, it is important that the development application consider the purpose of the project (i.e. Does the development fit the goals of the fund?), the compatibility of the development, and the feasibility or cost. The compatibility element of the Montgomery County HIF considers the development's design, land use/zoning, and community support. The applicant is also an important consideration of the fund. Preferred applicants should have development experience and be able to use the Jurisdiction's trust fund dollars in a reliable fashion to ensure the efficient use of public money for affordable housing. The final administrative element stressed by the presenters was to make the application process easy for developers. Ms. Davison stated that the developers will not be as inclined to apply for funds if the process becomes too bureaucratic.
For additional information about the Trust Funds presented in Frederick County please visit or contact the respective jurisdiction's web sites below.