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Monday, October 5, 2015

Howard County as an "outlier"

     The recent proposed rule by HUD that would group Howard County with other Baltimore Metro jurisdictions in determining subsidized rents for our County points out a reality that we are not like other Baltimore Metro jurisdictions.  With the third highest median income in the Country Howard County shares more in common with jurisdictions in the Washington DC Metro area than we do with Baltimore.  The median income in Baltimore County is $42,000 less than Howard County and Baltimore City's median income is $70,000 less than Howard County.  The average rent for a 3 bedroom unit in Howard County is over $2100.  In Baltimore City the average rent for a 3 bedroom unity is $1370 and that includes rents in the in the center city that drives up the average.  Outside of the center city the rents are substantially lower.
      I know when I read any report that gives statistics for the Baltimore Metro area I always seem to find that Howard County is an "outlier" in those reports.  Comparing Howard County to other jurisdictions in the Baltimore area shows how different we are.  We maybe geographically close but in almost every other way we seem to diverge from the rest of the area.  In many ways this divergence doesn't carry an public policy implications but it does in the case of the promotion of affordable housing in our County.  Nothing will limit the supply of affordable housing for those families with vouchers than to group us with the rest of the Baltimore Metro area.  Someone needs to tell the folks at HUD about this reality.  Fortunately our elected officials have been active in responding to this proposed HUD regulation.  Time will tell whether the proposed rule will be changed to continue to provide County housing opportunities to families with vouchers.

    Wisely HUD has seen the error of their ways.

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