2015 | News

Affordable Housing Applications Move Online

The Housing Opportunities Commission unveils a new online portal that will match applicants to all potential help

Housing and county officials, including Stacy Spann (second from right) and Council member Roger Berliner (far right), gathered Thursday in Silver Spring to unveil the HOC's new online housing portal.

Via HOC

The county-backed affordable housing organization serving around 30,000 people is about to ditch most of the paperwork.

The Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County (HOC) Thursday revealed a new online portal that will do away with the traditional paper application process and more readily match up a potential client with an array of possible services.

Stacy Spann, executive director of the HOC, said the online system will make the waitlist for federal Housing Choice vouchers more efficient.

It will also allow the HOC to offer low-income tax credits and other assistance to people on the waitlist without the applicants having to fill out a separate set of paperwork to get on a another waitlist.

The county’s waitlist for Housing Choice vouchers has been closed for eight years. HOC manages the county’s almost 6,000 vouchers and owns and manages its own properties.

“Housing voucher availability doesn’t mean that folks don’t need to be apprised of another opportunity,” Spann said. “What we can do now is take a little bit of information from you and cull through it to see what we might have available and see if we have something that intersects with your needs.”

Signing up for the online portal will require basic personal information, such as household size and household income.

When the portal goes live Aug. 24 it will look for potential matches for clients and services. Through the portal, HOC will check in periodically to see if someone one the waitlist is still interested in a particular housing program.

Spann said it cost $150,000 to build the online portal, though he hopes it will mean cost savings in the long run with fewer paper applications to process.