Habitat Choptank is one of 14 affordable housing initiatives in seven states that was awarded funding from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta (FHLBank Atlanta) in 2022, and it’s the only project funded in Maryland. The grant is through FHLBank Atlanta’s Affordable Housing Program and will support Habitat Choptank’s ambitious project on Wells Street in Cambridge by supporting a portion of the costs associated with constructing eight single-family affordable homes for ownership. BayVanguard Bank, a local bank and member of FHLBank Atlanta partnered with Habitat Choptank, making it possible for the grant application to move forward and is also providing a construction bridge loan to Habitat Choptank to assist in financing the construction costs. Grant funding provided by FHLBank Atlanta will be paid out over the next two years as these new affordable homes are sold.
Seven of the eight homes will be constructed with two stories and will include 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms with a first-floor bedroom and other features that would enable homeowners to successfully remain in their homes as they age. Habitat Choptank homes are targeted toward income qualifying buyers earning between 35 and 65% of the Area Median Income in Dorchester or Talbot Counties and are built to be energy efficient and to last. Features of these homes include: concrete and brick front porch and steps; GAF architectural shingles (50-year transferrable warranty); prefinished Hardie plank siding (extended color & material warranties); laminate hardwood flooring typically (20-year warranty); ceramic tile floors in the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room (30-year lifespan); fiberglass doors and vinyl windows; energy star heat pump water heater reduces utility bills; improved insulation and air sealing reduces utility bills and improves comfort; and, conditioned crawlspace controls temperature & humidity for improved energy efficiency.
The 2019 Housing and Market Analysis prepared as part of the Cambridge Neighborhood Revitalization plan looked at the economic challenges driven by the lack of safe, affordable housing stock. This plan revealed that “Nearly one out of every four Cambridge households (24%) was severely housing cost burdened in 2017, paying more than 50% of their income on housing costs. More broadly, approximately 46% of all Cambridge households are considered cost burdened paying in excess of 30% of their income on housing expenses. Preservation of an affordable rental housing stock, and homeownership opportunities for the entire income spectrum will be important as upward pressure on prices is likely to continue in Cambridge.”
Habitat for Humanity Choptank plays a vital role in a community such as Cambridge, empowering low-income households to improve their housing conditions so that their dreams for the future, a future for themselves and their families, can become a reality. The organization’s core values help to make that happen: sweat equity, financial education, and counseling are keys to their success along with partnering with local and state government, community foundations, nonprofit organizations, and individual members from the community who lend their time, talent, and support to work alongside local families as they strive to achieve homeownership or undertake emergency and necessary repairs on their homes.
The Habitat model has been working for 30 years with the organization having a foreclosure rating of less than 2% after building 102 homes. All this work drives important social and economic outcomes as stable housing has a tremendous impact on family and community health, improved education outcomes for children and increased financial stability and opportunity. In addition to these benefits, building and repairing homes also stimulates other sectors of the economy – driving additional spending and creating more local jobs.
If you are interested in owning your own home on Wells Street in Cambridge, visit habitatchoptank.org to learn more about Habitat Choptank’s homeownership program and to complete the inquiry form.
About Habitat Choptank
Since 1992, Habitat Choptank has made homeownership possible for 102 families and has completed critical health and safety repairs in partnership with over 300 qualifying homeowners in Dorchester and Talbot Counties. By building and rehabbing homes, Habitat Choptank helps families achieve better health, financial freedom, independence, stability, and security. Visit habitatchoptank.org to volunteer or apply for homeownership or home repair.
About Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta
FHLBank Atlanta offers competitively-priced financing, community development grants, and other banking services to help member financial institutions make affordable home mortgages and provide economic development credit to neighborhoods and communities. The Bank is a cooperative whose members are commercial banks, credit unions, savings institutions, community development financial institutions, and insurance companies located in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. FHLBank Atlanta is one of 11 district banks in the Federal Home Loan Bank System. Since 1990, the FHLBanks have awarded approximately $7.3 billion in Affordable Housing Program funds, assisting more than one million households. For more information, visit fhlbatl.com.
About BayVanguard Bank
BayVanguard Bank is a Maryland headquartered, full-service, community bank founded in 1873. BayVanguard provides the full range of banking products and services with a flexible and responsive delivery. For more information, visit www.BayVanguard.com.