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Task force recommendations

September 29, 2005

Here are some of the recommendations of the Washington County Workforce Housing Task Force:

  • Washington County should match state funding in down payment programs by contributing $3,000 toward the costs for eligible working families. With a matching $3,000 state contribution and an employer participating in the state's House Keys 4 Employees program, assistance could total $9,000.

  • Establish a Housing Trust Fund which would assist in the building of work force housing.

  • Establish a Land Trust to "remove the cost of purchasing land from Workforce Housing home buyers and landlords. The Trust would act as a co-purchaser of real estate, working with private lenders, the Maryland Community Development Administration and other local housing agencies. The Trust would take title to the land on which a Workforce Housing unit is to be built, and the participant would purchase the improvement. The owner of a Workforce Housing rental project or alternatively the home buyer would then be charged an annual ground rent in accordance with a predetermined formula."

  • Develop a set of design standards for manufactured housing in residentially zoned areas. The county's current zoning ordinance does not allow for manufactured housing in residential zoning districts, according to the task force.

  • Add $1 million per year over the next five years to the housing rehabilitation program administered by the Washington County Community Action Agency, allowing the program to purchase and resell units that do not now meet the lending requirements of federal or state programs. The units would then be sold to workforce housing families with the assistance of the land trust.

  • Provide incentives for developers in return for reduced home prices.
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