A lot can happen over the course of a year. Last summer, HOC was preparing to open its wait list for the first time in eight years. To accomplish this, HOC turned to an online wait list known as HOC Housing Path. The online application is easy to use, available in multiple languages and enables people to access and update their information anytime. The wait list re-imagines how people find housing.
Across the nation, public housing agencies open their wait list and close it within a matter of days or weeks. That short time frame creates panic and frustration for families in search of affordable housing and assistance. HOC is one of the very few whose wait list doesn’t close. By keeping an open wait list, HOC provides everyone an opportunity to apply and qualify for help.
Since the wait list opened on July 30, 2015, more than 34,000 applications have been submitted. That number illustrates the demand for affordable housing in Montgomery County. Every application represents a person or family in need of help. A new report by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition shows a household must earn at least $31.21 an hour to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment in Montgomery County. It’s hard to believe that so many people - our relatives, friends, coworkers and neighbors - struggle every day to meet a basic human need: shelter.
As HOC strives to meet the rising demand for affordable housing, HOC Housing Path provides valuable data. For example, more than half of all applicants have indicated a preference to receive housing assistance in the Silver Spring area. The second most requested geographic preference is Rockville. This information is important because it tells HOC where people want and need affordable housing the most. Statistical data also helps HOC forge new partnerships to meet the demand for affordable housing which allows the agency to better serve the thousands of people in need.
Study after study shows what we already know – that demand for affordable housing will only increase in the coming years. HOC is working with community leaders, developers and officials to solve the problem. But for people who need help now, Housing Path provides opportunities that are just a few clicks away.