To promote adequate and affordable housing, economic opportunity and a suitable living environment free from discrimination to eligible low and moderate-income persons and families in Cecil County.
Below you will find information for home owners, home buyers, renters, and rental property owners. If you require more information or have questions that are not answered below please call, email, or stop by so that we can assist you.
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Information for Home Owners...
Information for Home buyers...
Information for Renters...
Information for Rental Property Owners...
Frequently Asked Questions...
Housing Counseling Services
Call 410.996.5245 to make an appointment for the services below. All services are free of charge.
Homeownership Counseling (pre-purchase)
Counseling available to increase client awareness of the process of becoming a homeowner and to calculate the affordability of home ownership. Information workshops are offered on the 3rd Tuesday of every month at 6PM. Click here (PDF) for a schedule. Please call to register so that sufficient materials can be made available. Information on many kinds of First Time Home Buyer financing programs will be explained. In the State of Maryland you may qualify as a first-time home buyer if you have not owned a home in the last 3 years. You must attend the workshop and a one-on-one counseling to get the Counseling certificate required by most lending and grant programs. We are sorry, but because of the space and time limitations and in courtesy to our presenters, please do not bring children to the workshop.
Counseling available to assist clients and/or enhance financial management skills.
Mortgage Default & Delinquency
Free counseling available to increase client awareness of programs available to prevent foreclosure when possible. Counselors available to work on clients' behalf with lenders when necessary.
Home Equity Conversion Mortgage Counseling (Reverse Mortgage)
Counselor available to discuss reverse mortgages, calculate financial gain, and discuss options with clients who are considering applying for a reverse mortgage. There is no fee for this service.
Rental Counseling & Rent Delinquency
Counseling available to discuss rental process and rights of tenants. For more information, please see the State of Maryland Attorney General's publication Landlords and Tenants.
Rental Subsidy Programs
Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)
Provides rental assistance to income-eligible families helping families afford a better place to live or assist with paying a portion of the monthly rent where the family currently is living. A family consists of one or more household members. Household income must meet federal income guidelines. For more detailed information also see the HCV Fact Sheet on the HUD website.
- Application: Family completes the preliminary application, and the family name is placed on the waiting list. Apply in person or call for an application and self addressed envelope for return. You may also download it here (HCV App., PDF). We strongly recommend dropping your application off in-person at our office. Email applications cannot be accepted unless signed and scanned. It may also be faxed.
- Selection policy: The selection policy is based on date and time of application. Preference is given to county residents first, then state of Maryland, then all others.
- Waiting list: Current wait time is approximately three years for county residents. If you would like to check on the status of your application, please call our office.
- Enrollment: When the family's name reaches the top of the waiting list, an enrollment interview is scheduled, and eligibility is determined.
- Certification: If determined eligible, the family attends a briefing session where information is provide on how the Program works, and how to obtain housing suited to the family's needs.
- Housing Selection: The family finds housing within 120 days that meets HUD's Housing Quality Standards and allowable rent limits. The family's present dwelling may qualify or, under the program' portability option, the family may find a unit within or outside Maryland, provided a Housing Choice Voucher Program exists in that jurisdiction. If you would like to search for affordable housing on-line, we encourage you to do so at www.mdhousingsearch.org, and select "Cecil".
- Negotiation: The family comes to an agreement with the landlord on lease terms.
- Agency review: The Housing Agency evaluates the lease and inspects the dwelling to determine if they meet Program standards.
- Approval: The Housing Agency determines approval or disapproval of the lease and unit.
- Program Participation: Upon Agency approval of the lease and unit, the Housing Agency and Owner enter into a contract on behalf of the family for the unit.
**Please note that this can be a very lengthy and complicated process at times. While you are waiting for housing assistance from our agency, we encourage you to conduct your own search for housing. You may begin by using the Department of Housing and Urban Development's search page at http://www.hud.gov/apps/section8/index.cfm, or our on-line search at www.mdhousingsearch.org, and by referring to our provided list of rental communities in Cecil County.
Voucher Portability Feature
If you already have a voucher in another jurisdiction and would like to move to Cecil County, you may be able to do so using the Portability process. You must provide our contact information at the top of this page to your current housing agency, who will send us the proper paperwork to initiate the process. If you have questions about this please consult your current housing agency, or contact our Portability Officer at 410-996-8213.
Federal Family Self Sufficiency Program (FSS)
A case management, resource, and savings program for current Voucher holders. Provides assistance, supportive services, and the opportunity for families to achieve economic independence and self-sufficiency through asset building, escrow accounts, and home-buying assistance programs. Interested Cecil County voucher holders please contact the Family Self Sufficiency Coordinator at 410-996-8217 to find out if there are openings for new participants in the program.
First Time Home Buyers
First time buyers programs designed to increase the home ownership rate, especially among lower income and minority households. Please refer to the Housing Counseling Services above and the Family Self-Sufficiency program.
Family Unification Program
Special rental assistance available to families at risk of children being removed and/or reunited with parents (by Dept. of Social Services). Limited availability.
Special rental assistance (limited) and counseling available to families experiencing domestic violence. Contact Kathy Beerly at 410.996.0333.
Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH)
A special purpose funding program designated by HUD to assist Veterans and their families find rental housing. The program includes specific eligibility criteria and case management services from the VA. Veterans must be referred to Cecil County Housing by the Perry Point VA. To Obtain a referral for rental assistance contact Patricia Lane, 410-642-2411 ext. 5506.
Information for Rental Property Owners in Cecil County
If you own rental property in Cecil County and are interested in working with our Housing Choice Voucher program to rent your property, we encourage you to do the following:
- Review the HUD Fact Sheet for an overview of the voucher program and how it works.
- Review the Maryland Department of the Environment Lead Certification Requirements.
- Go to www.mdhousingsearch.com to list your property for free, and call our office to notify us of the vacancy. We are often able to match tenants and landlords very quickly.
- Wait for a voucher holder to contact you about your listing.
If a voucher holder is interested in your property, they will present you with a Request for Lease Approval form, which must be completed and returned to our office. We will then contact you to finalize details of the contract and arrange for an HCV inspection. Note that we will not inspect any property prior to receiving a Request for Lease Approval form from the prospective tenant. If you have questions about the inspection requirements, please contact our office at 410-996-5245, but in general we are going to ensure compliance with all State and county codes, as well as general healthy and safety concerns, and any household appliance present must be functional. If your unit does not pass, you will have the opportunity to correct the deficiencies.
If you have vacant units you need to rent, please list them for free on www.mdhousingsearch.org so that you can reach our voucher holders. Social Serve will be managing the available unit listings for Cecil County. This free service is more useful, convenient, efficient, and reliable than contacting our office to list your vacant units. If, however, you have specific questions for us about renting your unit, please give us a call as always.
If you have received a Rent Reasonableness Survey in the mail from our agency, please complete the form and return by mail or fax. Periodically, our office conducts random surveys of rental units in the area to ensure competitive rents for our owners and tenants. The information you provide in these surveys is not distributed or shared for any other purpose. We thank you for your cooperation in these surveys.
If you currently are involved in a dispute with your tenant or are having problems, please consult the Maryland Attorney General's Landlord and Tenants publication regarding your rights as the property owner.
Frequently Asked Questions
I am a veteran in need of a place to live. Is there any special help available?
Yes, In April 2008 the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), in conjunction with the Veterans Administration (VA) approved a new program called HUD/VASH. It is a collaboration between Hud, the local housing agency and the local VA hospital at Perry Point, Maryland. To Obtain a referral for rental assistance contact Patricia Lane, 410-642-2411 ext. 5506.
How long is the waiting list for rental assistance?
Approximately 3 to 3.5 years from the date of application. Also remember that during the wait time you are responsible for keeping your address, household, and income information up-to-date.
Do you have emergency housing assistance?
NO, please contact Social Services at 410-996-0100. (http://www.dhr.state.md.us/cecil.htm)
I am on disability. Will that place me higher up on the waiting list for rental assistance?
No. Disability services are also available through the Cecil County Department of Social Services (telephone 410.996.0100/from Rising Sun dial 410.658.2145) and the Cecil County Health Department.
I have just applied for Section 8 assistance and I am living on the street. Will this help me move up faster on the list?
NO, please contact Department of Social Services at 410-996-0100