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Prince Georges County

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Prince George County Housing Profiles

Locality: Prince George’s County, Maryland (USA)
County Population: 909,327 (2019)

Plan Title: Housing Opportunity for All
Date of Plan: June 2019
Date of Case Study: November 2020

Substantive highlights

At the request of the County Council, the Prince George’s County (County) Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), in partnership with Enterprise Community Partners (Enterprise), created Housing Opportunity for All, the County’s first comprehensive housing strategyThe strategy, finalized in 2019, is a ten-year housing strategy for a large county that includes multiple municipalities and different types of communities, including urban, suburban, and rural communities. Housing Opportunity for All is designed to align with the goals of Plan 2035 – Prince George’s County’s comprehensive 20-year development plan – which channels much of the county’s residential development to urban and suburban areas in order to preserve agricultural lands. 

Housing Opportunity for All includes a community assessment, which summarizes the area’s current and projected housing needs and assets, and a strategy roadmap, which outlines actions the County will take over the next 10 years to build capacity and address unmet needs.  The strategy roadmap identifies and integrates three broad cross-cutting strategies and three targeted strategies that respond to specific current housing issues:

Cross-cutting strategies

  1. Enhance policies and incentives to promote housing development and preservation throughout the county;
  2. Increase collaboration, coordination, and transparency; and,
  3. Expand funding and diversify financing mechanisms to increase development and other housing opportunities.


Targeted strategies

  1. Encourage new, context-sensitive development that expands housing types to serve the county’s diverse population and distinct geographic character;
  2. Improve the quality of the county’s existing housing supply, including older homes and income-restricted properties, and help keep housing costs low to stabilize residents at risk of displacement; and,
  3. Use new housing development and coordinated public investments to build stronger economic opportunity and revitalize neighborhoods.

Process

In March 2016, the Prince George’s County Council adopted Resolution CR-13-2016, which commissioned the development of a comprehensive housing strategy to guide the County over the next 10 years.

Between September 2017 and February 2018, Enterprise, a housing and community development nonprofit intermediary, and DHCD conducted more than 20 interviews with housing program staff and elected officials in the County and reviewed best practices from neighboring counties and Washington DC. Enterprise and DHCD also conducted a market analysis (historic, current, and projected to 10 years) to understand existing and future housing needs and market conditions at three levels: countywide, within county subareas (urban, suburban, and rural), and at the tract-level. 

Between October 2017 and May 2018, DHCD and Enterprise conducted focus groups and interviews with eight specific populations: 1) persons with disabilities; 2) persons experiencing homelessness; 3) residents of public and subsidized housing; 4) residents of market-rate housing; 5) Latinx immigrants; 6) seniors; 7) multi-family developers; and 8) business leaders. The County also hosted four public meetings. In December 2017, DHCD and Enterprise conducted 1,003 random cellular and landline telephone calls to residents and an online survey to non-resident in-commuters.

An Ad Hoc Subcommittee, comprised of five County Council members, provided oversight and additional feedback throughout the planning process. To support development of Housing Opportunity for All, DHCD consulted an advisory group with representatives from 35 government, businesses, faith-based and nonprofit organizations on a bi-monthly basis during the planning process.

In 2019, the County Council passed a resolution creating the Housing Opportunities for All working group. The working group was tasked with assisting the County in implementing the strategies in Housing Opportunity for All and with advising the County Council on changes to legislation that would further the strategy’s goals. Working group members include representatives from local jurisdictions, the housing authority, nonprofit developers, realtors, and community advocates.

Metrics, targets, and implementation

As part of the implementation steps outlined in Housing Opportunity for All, the County subsequently developed a set of four performance metrics and goals as well as a data portal to track its performance over time. These metrics were determined, in part, by reviewing performance trends for related housing activities from 2015 to 2019, then establishing targets to achieve by 2023. 

  • Goal 1 – To assist low- and moderate-income senior residents, individuals, and families in the County in acquiring rental housing:
    • Increase the number of placements of senior residents, families and individuals with low- to-moderate income in rental housing within the County every year (target of 7,548 placements per year by December 2023)
    • Increase the number of low-to-moderate income households removed from the housing choice voucher waiting list (target of 300 households removed per year by December 2023)
  • Goal 2 – To provide new homeownership assistance to and preserve existing owner-occupied units for County residents with low-to-moderate incomes in order to stabilize communities and promote homeownership:
    • Increase the number of low-to-moderate income residents that become homeowners via the County Homebuyer’s Assistance Program (target of 98 homeowners per year through 2023)
    • Increase the number of low-interest loans provided to existing homeowners to rehabilitate owner-occupied structures that need improvements to comply with county building codes (target of 33 loans per year by December 2023)
  • Goal 3 – To provide foreclosure prevention services to County residents to reduce the occurrence and lessen the consequences of foreclosures in the County:
    • Increase the percentage of positive housing market outcomes, such as mortgage modification or refinancing, that result from participation in foreclosure counseling provided by the agency (target of 24% by December 2023)
  • Goal 4 – To provide assistance in the areas of affordable housing, public services, public facilities/public infrastructure improvements, and employment opportunities for County residents while stabilizing and preserving County neighborhoods utilizing federal entitlement funding through the CDBG program:
    • Increase the percentage of CDBG projects completed within 12 months (target of 70% completion rate by December 2023)

Implementation status

Housing Opportunity for All was finalized in March 2019 and identifies 48 actions the County will take over the course of 10 years. Twenty-two of the actions were intended to be implemented in the first three years and, as of September 2020, 15 activities have been implemented or are ongoing. These completed or ongoing activities are in the following areas:
  • Strengthening the County’s internal capacity and coordination
  • Increasing and diversifying financing for housing development
  • Leveraging available land for housing development
  • Expanding supports for vulnerable residents
  • Ensuring transparency and accountability throughout implementation of the Housing Opportunity for All comprehensive housing strategy
Additionally, the County reports that it is on target to achieve three of its four goals by 2023, while one goal needs improvement.

Goals on target as of 2020

  • Goal 1
    • 7,118 placements in rental housing for low-to-moderate income households toward goal of 7,548 per year by December 2023
    • 635 households removed from the HCV waitlist toward a goal of 300 per year by 2023
  • Goal 2
    • 210 new low-to-moderate income homeowners toward a goal of 98 per year by 2033
    • 42 loans to existing homeowners toward a goal of 33 per year by 2023
  • Goal 3
    • 26% of households receiving foreclosure counseling resulting in positive outcomes toward a goal of 24% by 2023

Goal needing improvement as of 2020

  • Goal 4
    • 65% of projects completed within 12 months toward a goal of 70% by 2023.

Coverage of four policy pillars

Not Covered Moderate FocusA pillar is a Moderate Focus of a housing strategy when the strategy addresses it, but in a minor or secondary way, such as by including only one policy of modest projected impact from the pillar. Substantial FocusA pillar is a Substantial Focus of a housing strategy when the strategy includes policies falling within multiple functional subcategories of that pillar or at least one policy projected to have a large impact.
Create and preserve dedicated affordable housing units
Promote affordability by reducing barriers to new supply
Help households access private-market homes
Protect against displacement and poor housing conditions

Participating agencies

No Role Supporting Role Leading Role
Office of the Mayor
Office of the City/County Manager
Housing Department
Planning Department
Development Agency
Permitting/Inspections Department
Finance/Tax Department
Public Housing Authority
City/County Council

Policy tools

In Housing Opportunity for All, the County details the following policy actions it will take to achieve the its housing goals:

Implementation in years 1-3

Strengthening internal capacity and coordination

  • Streamline the development review and permitting process for developments with a certain share of units set aside for low income households.
  • Improve cross-departmental coordination and communication on development projects
  • Create more consistency within the County’s development process
  • Increase internal capacity to support implementation of CHS goals and strategies
  • Build a fully culturally competent staff to serve the county’s changing demographics
  • Align the County’s HITF and other development solicitations for public funding to support CHS goals and actions


Increasing and diversifying financing for housing development

  • Increase the County’s Housing Investment Trust Fund (HITF)
  • Apply for federal Section 108 Loan Guarantee Funds to support mixed-income and mixed-use development
  • Align the County’s housing initiatives with federal and state resources to maximize impact of all existing and new resources
  • Build more mixed-use and mixed-income developments


Leveraging available land for housing development 

  • Modify public land disposition process to advance CHS goals
  • Create a centralized inventory of publicly-owned land, subsidized housing, naturally occurring affordable housing, and underutilized properties
  • Identify opportunities for new housing development on publicly-owned land (including infill sites and brownfields)
  • Create a land bank to support redevelopment of abandoned residential properties (or expand powers granted to Redevelopment Authority (RDA) to provide the same function)


Expanding support for vulnerable residents

  • Establish stronger, market-informed inclusionary housing requirements
  • Reduce barriers for residents trying to find or stay in income-restricted housing
  • Create additional resources to make it easier for persons with disabilities to find and stay in a home
  • Create a range of resources for households experiencing a housing crisis (unanticipated change in housing costs, eviction, etc.)
  • Leverage project-based vouchers to promote mixed-income projects and allocate funding sources for a local rental assistance program


Ensuring transparency and accountability

  • Conduct a broad education and outreach plan to promote existing and new housing programs and dialogue with various community stakeholders on a regular basis
  • Monitor, evaluate, and report progress on implementation of the CHS
  • Establish consistent funding terms and align uses of key County resources (e.g., HITF, PILOTs, PACE, Section 108, and other financing tools, including any tailored financial products or incentives)

Implementation in Years 4–7

Aligning housing priorities and land use regulations

  • Establish more flexible regulations to support adaptive reuse of properties (in coordination with zoning rewrite)
  • Support green building standards (in coordination with zoning rewrite)
  • Support proposed zoning changes that expand and encourage “missing middle” and other diverse housing types (e.g., duplexes, live/work units, one-level homes)


Strengthening and streamlining available development financing

  • Expand relationship between the Revenue Authority, Economic Development Corporation, and Department of Housing and Community Development to support housing development
  • Collaborate with the State of Maryland to identify additional resources to support the County’s housing initiatives
  • Use local economic development funding to create economic opportunities in tandem with housing development, including supporting economic development projects that include housing


Expanding partnerships to support strategy implementation

  • Work with non-profit and faith-based institutions to evaluate opportunities for partnerships on new development, education and outreach, or programming
  • Increase capacity of external partners (e.g., non-profit developers)
  • Market available resources and programs to local and regional developers
  • Encourage developers to use PACE financing to make comprehensive energy efficiency upgrades to older properties
  • Strengthen the County’s and partners’ ability to purchase affordable rental properties at risk of converting to market-rate housing (i.e., right-of-first refusal provisions)
  • Expand existing programs and financing tools to increase access to homeownership


Targeting neighborhood revitalization and economic development efforts

  • Engage major employers and anchor institutions to initiate place-based investments that increase access to opportunity
  • Use place-making to cultivate and celebrate neighborhood identity
  • Coordinate targeted public investments with housing activities or other revitalization activities


Continuing to expand support for vulnerable residents

  • Strengthen rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords
  • Explore innovative, low-cost housing solutions to serve persons experiencing homelessness
  • Target resources, like code enforcement and funding for rehabilitation, to improve the livability of existing homes

Implementation in Years 8—10

Creating new programs to support existing residents

  • Allow accessory dwelling units as a permitted use in designated zones
  • Adopt a universal design policy
  • Implement a comprehensive approach to support senior households aging in place
  • Stabilize residents through anti-displacement programs
  • Undertake or build on existing neighborhood planning efforts and other community-based processes to identify projects that directly address residents’ interests


Leveraging vacant or underutilized properties

  • Target underused or obsolete properties for new housing production
  • Build capacity (through processes, programs, and financing) to address condo vacancies


Cultivating additional financing

  • Engage private financial institutions to create financial products that help achieve the goals in the CHS
  • Use value capture to reinvest in neighborhoods experiencing increased private investment

Income groups targeted

Little/No Focus Moderate Focus Substantial Focus
0-30% AMI
30-60% AMI
60-80% AMI
80-120% AMI
Market Rate

Principal housing policy objectives

Which linkages are addressed

  • ✓ Transportation
  • ✓ Employment
  • ✓ Education
  • ✓ Health

Which local funding sources are proposed?

  1. Housing Investment Trust Fund sourced by:
    • Developer impact fees
    • Transient occupancy tax
    • Linkage fee
    • Finance corporation bonds
    • Surplus funds
    • Construction excise tax
    • State capital budget
    • Multi-family rental conversion fee
    • Property tax levy
    • Sales tax
    • Residential impact fees
    • Inclusionary housing in-lieu fees
    • General fund
    • Housing excise tax
    • Union agreement
    • Tax increment financing
    • Property/Surplus tax
    • Housing impact fees
    • Casino revenue Commercial linkage impact fee
  2. Section 108 financing
  3. Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE)
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