NORRISTOWN, Pa. – Recently, during its regularly scheduled meeting, the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners received the final version of the “Homes for All” report and vision today.
The report examines the current state of housing affordability in Montgomery County and aims to predict future housing needs and patterns based on economic, health, and social trends. It also identifies policy and funding barriers to the creation of affordable housing and ways to advance housing equity for underserved and marginalized populations. Finally, the report provides ways to utilize advocacy, partnership, and funding best practices to increase housing affordability for all residents, regardless of income, geography, or background.
The Homes for All planning process involved more than two years of data-driven planning and analysis. It was completed as a joint effort by the Montgomery County Office of Housing and Community Development, the Montgomery County Commerce Department, and the Montgomery County Planning Commission, as a vision for housing affordability in Montgomery County.
“The Homes for All report outlines how affordable housing is foundational to ensuring the health, wellness, and vitality of every Montgomery County community,” said Dr. Valerie A. Arkoosh, Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. “Housing is necessary to provide the opportunity for the educational, civic, economic, and social empowerment of all our residents.”
The Homes for All report was informed by interviews, surveys, and focus groups of over 200 community members – including residents, landlords, housing developers, municipal officials, nonprofit health and human service providers, corporate and local business leaders, and others. National housing policy experts were consulted and research was completed on national housing trends and best practices.
“I commend the cross-sector nature of this report, and I thank all of the County departments, community members, and other partners for coming together to take a holistic approach to affordable housing and making homeownership achievable for our residents,” said Kenneth E. Lawrence Jr., Vice Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. “We look forward to seeing these recommendations become a reality as we continue to work to ensure everyone living in Montgomery County has a safe and affordable place to live.”
The report provides the following recommendations to advance housing affordability for all Montgomery County residents:
Continue the work of Homes for All within the successful framework of Your Way Home, whose members include County and municipal government officials, business leaders, housing developers, school district representatives, housing advocates, health and human services leaders, philanthropic foundations, financial institutions, and residents.
Provide toolkits, training, and technical assistance to municipal officials to encourage zoning reform, incentives, and other strategies to advance the development of more affordable housing in their communities.
Explore opportunities to leverage and attract more federal, state, local, and private funding for affordable housing development and housing assistance.
Continue to advance equitable opportunities for all residents to live in safe and accessible housing near their places of work, learning, worship, and health.
The report and its final recommendations will be incorporated into the public-private partnership Your Way Home. Informed by the collective impact model of solving complex and deeply rooted social problems, Your Way Home is a cross-sector collaboration between County agencies, nonprofit service providers, philanthropic foundations, landlords, faith organizations, homeless advocates, people with lived expertise, and other community partners committed to ensuring that everyone who lives, works, learns, and invests in Montgomery County has equal opportunity to live in an affordable home and a thriving community.
At the start of Homes for All in 2018, a team of Montgomery County staff and a multi-sector Advisory Committee, comprised of municipal officials, housing developers, supportive housing providers, business leaders, housing advocates, and faith-based leaders codified the mission and objectives for the project that have been instrumental in guiding every step of the journey toward this report and the recommendations it makes.
The completion of the report was delayed to allow for additional consideration of both the impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic and the recognition of the need for greater social justice in policy and programs; both of these conditions amplified the urgency to address housing affordability as critical to ensure a vibrant, prosperous, and inclusive future for Montgomery County’s residents and communities.
To review the research and see the recommendations in the report, go to: https://www.montcopa.org/3704/Homes-For-All.