Bridges doesn’t just advocate for more affordable housing in Howard County. We lead by example. In 2014, Bridges launched the Alliance program to provide affordable rental housing for households that earn low to moderate incomes. Today the program owns or operates 53 rental homes in the County. Tenant leases are for one year and are renewable.
Households in the program pay below-market rents and participate in a “Circle of Support” designed to help them move along the path to self-sufficiency. Tenants in the program include para-educators, certified nursing aides, childcare providers, restaurant servers, commercial drivers, and security guards. Their rent payments are, on average, 40% below market rates. In addition, tenants are offered regular education sessions related to financial literacy, budgeting and saving, credit building, retirement investing, and home buying.
- Tenants pay an average of only 35% of household income on rent
- 64% of households made progress on housing stability goals in the last year
- 96% of households remain stably housed after 18 months
Want to Apply?
To be eligible for the Bridges Alliance program, a household must earn between 30% and 60% of Area Median Income. Income is measured based on household size, as shown below. For example, a 4-person household must earn between $38,865 and $77,729.
Other eligibility factors:
- Credit scores for leaseholders must be above 520.
- Preference is given to households with employment in Howard County.
- Criminal background, debt profile, and rental history are also considered.
To start the application process, download the pre-application form. Send the completed form to Erin Cawthorne (see contact details below).
Have a Home to Rent?
Bridges can partner with private real estate investors and institutions who own rental property. Under these arrangements, Bridges leases a home from the owner and then sublets to a household that meets the program’s eligibility requirements. Owners are assured of regular rental income – paid directly by Bridges -- and diligent property management. To learn more, contact the Bridges Deputy Director Dana Sohr via email.
Want to Volunteer?
Bridges Alliance also seeks volunteer allies for the Circle of Support and for ongoing repairs and maintenance to rental units. To learn more contact the Volunteer Coordinator Chrissy Wilson via email.
Contact the Alliance Program
To learn more about the Bridges Alliance program, contact Erin Cawthorne via email or 410-362-5657.