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.

Bridges recently launched a Rent Reporting program that will allow tenants to report positive rent payments to the major credit bureaus. With funding from the nonprofit Credit Builders Alliance, Bridges will pay the monthly program fees for all tenants who enroll through June 2026. This program will allow tenants to build credit that will, in turn, increase their credit score and access to high-quality financial products and wealth and asset opportunities. Bridges will host orientation sessions to inform tenants about this program and offer credit building assistance to enrolled tenants.

Bridges Alliance - Infographic December 2023

Program Impacts

    • 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

Success Stories

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 via email.

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 the Bridges office at (410) 312-5760.