MHP FAQ Sheet – Our Origins:
In the summer of 1988, Reverend Lincoln “Lon” Dring, Executive Director of Community Ministry of Montgomery County, and Peg McRory, a housing activist, called a number of friends and acquaintances together around Peg’s dining room table to search for solutions to the lack of affordable housing in Montgomery County. This small group decided to form a non-profit housing organization that could work with the local government and the community to address affordable housing issues.
Drings Reach Apartment Groundbreaking, October 11, 1991
From left to right – front row: Tom Natelli, William Murry, Rosalie Sears, Jackie Simon, Peg McRory, Pat Heinaman, Norman Christeller, Odessa Shannon, Barbara Sears and Anthony Natelli. Second row: Dale Rosenthal, Vicente Torres, Lon Dring, Tad Baldwin, Bill Murphy, Ed Crowley.
In 1989, Montgomery Housing Partnership (MHP) was incorporated and shortly thereafter Norman Christeller, just retiring as chair of the Planning Board, agreed to serve as the first president. The first Board of Directors was chaired by Bill Murry and included members of the River Road Unitarian Church (RRUC) and prominent homebuilders Tony and Tom Natelli. In 1991, Norm moved to chair of the board and Tad Baldwin, a housing consultant was asked to become president. Early staffers included Patricia Heinaman (Executive Vice President), Dale Rosenthal (Vice President) and Cindy Cottee (Program Assistant).
Left: Norman Christeller, an early advocate for affordable housing.
In the first few years, the board of directors and staff concentrated on local government policies that pertained to affordable housing. MHP proposed amendments to the county’s MPDU law (Moderately Priced Dwelling Units, the country’s first inclusionary zoning law) to allow non-profits to buy 6 and 2/3 percent of the for-sale units, in addition to the 33 and 1/3 that HOC is permitted to buy.
When the amendment passed, board members and builders loaned the needed money to purchase the first units while financing was arranged. Six units were purchased in the first year and now, MHP has over 100 townhomes and condos which are rented to larger households in locations reaching from Potomac to White Oak.
A small staff of three worked through most of the first five years, supported by home builders, generous donations, and development fees (from successful developments). Today, MHP employs 24 hard working employees who are passionate about providing and expanding affordable housing in Montgomery County.
MHP’s First Development, New Construction
Dring’s Reach Apartments
In the early 90s, new construction was feasible because of Montgomery County’s building moratoriums due to road capacity in the Eastern County that only allowed developments with a high percentage of affordable units to be built. A site was located, front money advanced by the county, and a competition held to select a “turn-key” builder. Bozzuto Construction was selected and Dring’s Reach, a 104 unit garden apartment complex, was completed in 1992. Half of the units are rented at below market rents, the balance at market. It was appropriately named for the Rev. Lon Dring.
From 1990 to the present, MHP has continued its mission of expanding affordable housing with the acquisition of older run down multi-family buildings in Montgomery County. MHP acquires and rehabilitates these buildings and leases them to low and moderate income families.
MHP History Timeline
1989 MHP was formed
September 19,1992- Dring’s Reach Grand Opening
June 14, 1994 – Beall’s Grant Grand Opening
July 27, 1996 – Edinburgh Celebration
September 11, 1999 – 8800 Bradford Road Open House
November 17, 1999 – Amherst Square Grand Re-Opening
October 19, 2002 – Connecticut Ave. Estates – celebrating completion of MHP’s work
July 17, 2003 – Hancock Gardens Opening
October 25, 2003 – Glenville Road Opening
April 24, 2004 – Greenwood Terrace Ribbon Cutting
November 15, 2005 – Great Hope Homes Ribbon Cutting
2005 – Pembridge Apartments Ribbon Cutting
September 14, 2005 – Blair Park Apartments Ribbon Cutting
October 17, 2008- Takoma Park Preservation Project Ribbon Cutting
September 24, 2009 – Purchased Halpine Hamlet in Rockville
September 8, 2010 – Gilbert Highlands grand Opening
December 23, 2010 – Purchased Parkview Towers in Takoma Park
A Holistic Approach to Affordable Housing
Community Life Helping Residents Build Better Lives
Whether helping kids excel in school or providing adults with job training, MHP Community Life Programs support the growth and development of all residents, including the need to just have fun. Started in 1997, these program offer children an award-winning homework club, computer access and education, holiday parties complete with gifts, back to school supplies, summer camps, and cultural outings. Adult programs include: job training, homeownership classes, computer classes, assistance with tax preparation and health promotions and fairs.
Neighborhood Revitalization Services (NRS)
Since 1997, Montgomery Housing Partnership has offered a unique, award winning community development program conducted in partnership with the Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) that addresses the needs of targeted neighborhoods. Services rendered have included formation of neighborhood associations, identification of issues, problem solving and neighborhood infrastructure upgrades. MHP has sponsored community building events such as festivals, block parties, clean ups and landscaping projects. Neighborhoods that have benefited from MHP involvement include: Long Branch, Glenville Road, Connecticut Avenue Estates and the neighborhoods near the Glenmont Metro station.