Montgomery County Delegation Public Hearing on Housing Authority Governance

Purpose: For the Delegation’s Education, Elections and Housing Committee and other interested legislators to gain a better understanding of the role of the HOC and local delegations’ role in shaping governance for housing agencies, to hear from the public and to consider whether changes in governance are needed

What: A Public Hearing convened by the Montgomery County Delegation’s Education, Elections, and Housing Committee

When: September 26, 2019, 6:00-8:00 p.m.

Where: 7th flr hearing room in the Montgomery County Council office building

Host: Delegate Pam Queen, Chair of the Montgomery County Delegation’s Education, Elections, and Housing Committee, committee members, Delegate Al Carr

Invitees: Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County (HOC), members of the Public, Montgomery County Council, County Executive, MCGEO, Montgomery County Delegates and Senators

Background: Housing authorities serve an important role in providing shelter for vulnerable Marylanders. They are local in function but are “creatures of the state”, independent of county and municipal governments. Only the General Assembly can alter the powers, oversight and governance of housing authorities via local delegations. The relevant section of state law is division 2 of the Housing and Community Development article, sections 12 through 23, known as the Housing Authorities Law.

The Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County (HOC) is our local housing authority with powers defined in section 16. They are governed by a board of commissioners and had a FY 2019 operating budget of $264.7 million and capital budget of $249.7 million. The Montgomery County Delegation passed several reforms of HOC’s governance in the 1980s and the 1990s.

HOC’s operations have expanded in recent years beyond providing affordable housing. In 2018 At HOC’s request, the General Assembly passed Chapter 126 (HB 220), authorizing HOC to create nonprofit subsidiaries which can develop properties into both market-rate and affordable housing and are exempt from taxation and zoning laws.

It is important that the public have confidence in the responsiveness, transparency and accountability of public agencies. In 2019, the General Assembly passed Chapter 168 (HB 344), to enable greater oversight of the HOC by the County’s inspector general.

This public hearing will be a continuation of that discussion to cover such areas as:

Suggested Hearing Format:

More Information:

1998 Office of the Attorney General letter on governance options for housing authorities