County, church officials cut ribbon on new affordable housing

County Executive Isiah Leggett joined leaders of the Mount Jezreel Baptist Church and others Saturday to cut the ribbon on a new affordable housing project for residents 62 and older.

The Sanctuary is a $20 million, three-story apartment building located at 426 University Blvd. E, behind the existing church and Mount Jezreel Christian School in Silver Spring.

Officials and housing advocates in recent years have suggested that partnerships with area churches to build on their land could be a way to help meet the county’s need for more affordable housing particularly for senior citizens.

“Promoting affordable housing in inclusive communities remains one of my top priorities,” Leggett said in a press release. “This project is another example of how Montgomery County is addressing this goal.”

The Sanctuary, a Mount Jezreel Senior Housing Community, will provide 75 mixed-income apartments for active seniors seeking independent living. Four units are rented to those with income less than 30 percent of area median income; five are rented to those with income between 31 percent and 40 percent AMI; eleven are rented to those with income between 41 percent and 50 percent AMI; and, 47 units are rented to those with income between 51 percent and 60 percent AMI, according to the release.

As part of the total 67 affordable units, 12 units are available to seniors who are veterans with income between 30 percent and 60 percent of AMI. Eight units at the property are rented at market rate.

The building also includes a large community room on the first floor, a shared-use path that connects to the residential neighborhood and the main commercial corridor, and a lighted sidewalk from the building to transit on University Boulevard transit. The site includes 55 parking spaces.

“The Sanctuary will provide safe, secure, and affordable housing for seniors which will enhance their quality of life,” said Pastor Eldridge Spearman of the Mount Jezreel Baptist Church. “This endeavor will be a blessing for our church and community.”

The project was built as a partnership among Mount Jezreel Community Development Corp., Mission First Housing Group and the Henson Development Co. Funding for included approximately $9 million in tax-exempt bonds; $1.85 million in Maryland DHCD-Rental Housing Funds; $2 million in from the county’s HOME program funds; $6.6 million in low income housing tax credit equity; and $1.1 million in seller financing and developer equity. Columbus Property Management, a member of Mission First Housing Group, is handling property management.

Participating in the ribbon cutting were (above, l-r) Councilmembers Marc Elrich, Tom Hucker, and Nancy Floreen, County Executive Ike Leggett, Sarah Constant (managing director for Mission First Housing Group), Rev. Eldridge Spearman, Paul Connolly, Daniel Henson (president, Henson Development Co.), and Clarence Snuggs. Photo by Andre Dunston provided by the county.

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