Making Downtown Columbia Accessible for Everyone

Housing is a key component of the Downtown Columbia Plan, which aims to ensure that low, moderate, and middle income families have an opportunity to live Downtown. However, public officials and housing advocates determined that the Plan’s original Housing Trust Fund was insufficient, leading to dozens of meetings over the course of more than a year to find an alternative.

The outcome is the Joint Recommendations on Affordable Housing, developed by a partnership of Howard County government, the Howard County Housing Commission, Columbia Downtown Housing Corporation and The Howard Hughes Corporation, and recommended by the Howard County Department of Planning and Zoning and by the Howard County Planning Board.

The Joint Recommendations provide a comprehensive plan to deliver inclusive, affordable housing so restaurant and retail staff members, service workers and young professionals in a variety of fields can live in and enjoy the new Downtown Columbia.

The approved recommendations include a total of 900 affordable units, of which:

  • 400 units will be distributed in every future apartment building in Downtown, starting at 6% then expanding to 10%
  • 417 affordable units will be developed in 5 mixed-income and mixed-use buildings
  • 83 units as part of a homeownership and live-where-you-work program developed by the Columbia Downtown Housing Corporation