Living Close to Work: Howard County's Initiative for Low-Income Employees

Howard County General Hospital has taken a step towards helping low-income county employees by launching the Live Where You Work initiative. Signed by Howard County Executive Calvin Ball in August, the program provides select employees of the hospital with subsidized housing in four apartment complexes near the hospital and The Mall in Columbia. The grants are designed to ensure that beneficiaries don't spend more than 30% of their income on rent and can save money to become permanent residents of Howard County after their three years are up. Kelly Cimino, director of the county's Department of Housing and Community Development, believes that this program will be beneficial for many people.

She explains that due to high housing prices in Howard, people with low incomes often have to travel from outside the county. The Live Where You Work program gives them the opportunity to live in one of the most expensive counties in Maryland. Tia Walls is one of the participants who has been able to take advantage of this initiative. She has been working in Columbia for 13 years and was formerly living in Anne Arundel County. Thanks to the Live Where You Work program, she is now able to afford living in Howard County with her 2-year-old son Elijah. Howard General is the second largest private employer in the county, behind the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

The number of participating employees is currently four, but Cimino expects it to increase over time.

Jack Nguyen
Jack Nguyen

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