housing’

We must ask what candidates mean by ‘affordable housing’

The Hampshire Towers in Takoma Park in 2015. Tenants asked Montgomery County officials to put the rent increases on hold pending negotiations. (Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post) As Montgomery County’s campaigns for public office heat up, most of the candidates will drape themselves in the banner of “affordable housing.” But what policies they actually stand by are often at odds with what affordable housing really means, especially for renters. For a small percentage of renters struggling financially, federal subsidies can help. These include Section 8 vouchers and county and state rent subsidies through the rental assistance program that pays part of a tenant’s rent for limited periods, as well as emergency short-term charity subsidies aimed at preventing evictions through a network of nonprofits. Then there’s the county’s “crown jewel” of affordable rental housing policy: the Moderately Priced Dwelling Unit program. The MPDU rental program requires some properties to set aside…