U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Office of Community Planning and Development


Hagerstown, a city in Washington County, is the financial, legal, and retail center of western Maryland. According to the 1990 census, it has a population of 35,445, a 4 percent increase from 1980. During the same 10-year period, the minority population of this community increased by 18 percent. In recent years the area has undergone changes in its economy, partly due to the growth in wholesale and retail trade, transportation, and communications businesses. Consequently, the job base of the city has shifted from primarily manufacturing employment to lower paying service-sector employment. This shift has reduced the ability for households to afford decent housing and has limited their ability to save for downpayments and closing costs needed to purchase homes.

Action Plan

Hagerstown estimates it will receive $1,108,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) monies in 1995-96. In order to complete its housing and community development objectives, this amount will be supplemented by an additional $1,402,824 in unused 1993-94 and 1994-95 entitlement funds, as well as $593,574 in 1995 estimated program income.

Citizen Participation

The city of Hagerstown published a public notice announcing the development of the Consolidated Plan, soliciting public comment, and advertising a public needs hearing, which was held in February 1995. Furthermore, the city also solicited input from 25 social service agencies, 21 housing providers, 15 city departments, and housing agencies.

MAP 1 depicts points of interest in the jurisdiction.


In 1990, the city's total population of 35,445 included a minority population of 7 percent. African Americans accounted for 84 percent of the minority population. Forty-five percent of African Americans in Hagerstown reside in an area characterized by a disproportionately higher share of low-income households, vacant and/or substandard housing units, and unemployed and/or underemployed persons.

There are 15,077 households in the city. In 1990, the median family income (MFI) for a family of four in the Hagerstown Metropolitan Statistical Area was $34,615. Approximately 2,789, or 18 percent, of those households are extremely low-income (0-30 percent MFI), while 1,838, or 12 percent, are low-income (31-50 percent MFI), and 2,965, or 20 percent, are moderate-income (51-80 percent MFI).

MAP 2 depicts points of interest and low-moderate income areas.

MAP 3 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and minority concentration levels.

MAP 4 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and unemployment levels.



The percentage of residents living below the poverty level in Hagerstown is almost 7 percent. In 1990, the unemployment rate equaled the State's rate of 4.3 percent.

Housing Needs

The 1990 census reported 16,361 housing units located in Hagerstown. This represents a 10 percent increase in units from 1980. About 38 percent of the city's housing stock is owner-occupied, and 23 percent of the stock need rehabilitation. Also, in 1990 the city experienced a housing vacancy of 8 percent, primarily in the rental market.

In this community the housing stock can generally be classified as old (over 90 percent being 35 or more years old). Although the majority of available housing units for lower income households are rentals, there are concerns about the adequacy of available housing units for low-income households.

Housing Market Conditions

In 1990, the median value of owner-occupied housing in Hagerstown was $68,200. Comparatively, the 1990 median value of owner-occupied housing in Washington County was $82,700, while statewide the figure was $115,500.

Affordable Housing Needs

Among the extremely low-income households, more than 80 percent are renters, and more than half of those experience housing problems and/or cost burdens (spending 30 percent or more of their income on housing-related costs). The majority of extremely low-income homeowners are elderly.

More than half the city's low-income renter households experience housing problems and/or cost burdens. Among homeowners, the majority of whom are elderly, fewer families experience housing problems or cost burdens.

The majority of moderate-income households are renters. Most of the moderate-income homeowners are the elderly. Housing problems and cost burdens affect less than one-quarter of renters and homeowners in this income group.

Homeless Needs

A 1-day census in Hagerstown found 59 homeless persons. Facilities that address the needs of the homeless and persons threatened with homelessness include: a 2-site 36-bed shelter for families; a 9-bed shelter for families; an 80-bed shelter for men; and a 30-bed emergency shelter for single women and women with children. Individuals and families are provided services such as counseling, case management follow-up, storage of belongings, job counseling, referrals, assistance with legal problems, and food pantries. In addition, CASA, Inc., operates a 22-bed shelter for victims of domestic violence and their children, offering many on-site services at the shelter.

The most urgent need for the homeless population in this community is decent, affordable rental units. Also, although there are generally enough shelter spaces to service the current homeless population, there are occasionally not enough spaces for families.

Furthermore, the homeless need services that will cover the transitional period from shelter living to permanent housing. The homeless population will benefit from continued support of life skills training and/or consumer education classes.

Public and Assisted Housing Needs

The Hagerstown Housing Authority reported 1,180 units of public housing in the city. There are 86 households on the waiting list. Among these households, 23 were being displaced, 11 were homeless, and 11 were paying more than 50 percent of their income for rent.

The authority administers 576 Section 8 certificates and vouchers. As of March 1995, there were 413 applicants on the waiting list for Section 8 assistance. A total of 35 of these families were being displaced, 77 were homeless, and 119 were paying more than 50 percent of their income for rent.

There are another 815 subsidized housing units in Hagerstown. Some 609 are assisted housing for families, while 206 are designated for the elderly. In the city the greatest demand for assisted housing continues to come from small families.

Also, persons with disabilities who do not require supportive services need accessible, affordable housing. However, apartments and houses which can be made accessible are in short supply. Currently, there are 84 units in the public housing stock that have been adapted for the physically disabled.

Barriers to Affordable Housing

In Hagerstown barriers to affordable housing arise from affordability issues and insufficient land space for developing higher-density affordable housing.

Many first-time homebuyers, particularly those from low-income households, have difficulty receiving loan approval because of insufficient credit and employment history. Therefore, the city has implemented a training and educational program to provide new homebuyers with information on home improvements, household budgets, and sources for assistance.

Fair Housing

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds will support the Community Housing and Resource Board, which is responsible for fair housing activities, such as publishing a tenant-landlord handbook, providing training sessions, and monitoring activities.

Lead-Based Paint

More than 90 percent of the housing units in Hagerstown were constructed prior to 1978, increasing the possibility that lead-based paint was used in the homes. Currently, an estimated 10,000-13,000 houses, three-quarters of which are occupied by low-income households, may contain lead-based paint. There is relatively little lead-safe housing available to these families because only a small number of lead-safe units exist. Furthermore, the affordability of the available lead-safe units may be well beyond the financial means of low-income households.

Other Issues

Statistics about the mentally ill cannot be easily tabulated for Hagerstown because mental hospitals serving the city provide for persons from the statewide population, distorting the estimated needs of this population segment. However, the city does estimate a need of 11 supportive housing units for the developmentally disabled.

In Hagerstown all individuals who need housing and who have HIV/AIDS receive the same opportunities for housing and assistance that other individuals or households seeking assistance receive.

Various populations with special needs require supportive housing, which means they need living units that provide planned services for the residents. This population includes an estimated 790 elderly and frail elderly, and about 1,200 persons with alcohol and other addictions.

Community Development Needs

Based on information received during the preparation of the Consolidated Plan, Hagerstown has developed long- and short-term goals aimed at meeting community development needs over the next 5 years. A summary of those concerns follows.


Housing and Community Development Objectives and Priorities

The housing and community development and planning programs has two main goals. One goal is to strengthen partnerships with other jurisdictions. A second goal is to extend and strengthen partnerships among government agencies and the private sector so that they can provide decent housing, establish and maintain a suitable living environment, and expand economic opportunities, particularly for low- and very low-income persons.

The priorities set forth in the city's consolidated plan are based on input from surveys, past performance and action plans, and needs identified in the city's market analysis.

Housing Priorities

Hagerstown's affordable housing priorities are as follows:

Hagerstown has also developed housing priorities that address the specific needs of public housing residents, the homeless, the elderly, persons with disabilities, persons with alcohol/drug additions, and persons with HIV/AIDS. These priorities include projects which will:

The city will develop public housing initiatives to improve the quality of life for these persons. These initiatives may include renovating all public housing projects over the next 5 years, encouraging resident management, and assisting 20 families with homeownership.

Nonhousing Community Development Priorities

Short- and long-term objectives have been developed in order to address the city's nonhousing community development needs. Some of those objectives are as follows:

Projects are prioritized to allow an equitable distribution of funds and to provide the greatest benefit to low- and moderate-income households.

Housing and Community Development Resources

In addition to the Federal funding sources mentioned in the action plan, Hagerstown expects to fund its proposed activities using a wide variety of available Federal, State, and local monies. The activity and anticipated funding sources are listed below.

Sources for owner-occupied housing rehabilitation/construction include:

Sources for renter-occupied housing rehabilitation/construction include:

Sources for homebuyer assistance include:

Sources for rental assistance include:

Sources for homeless assistance include:

Sources for public housing include:

Coordination of Strategic Plan

The City of Hagerstown will continue to serve as the lead agency in directing housing policy, particularly with regard to affordable housing. In this capacity it will work with the Hagerstown Housing Authority, nonprofit housing developers, and private industry. Cooperation from nonprofit agencies and developers will be essential. Although social service agencies do not deal directly with housing, they are integral to planning as the link between housing and the persons being served by the housing.

To provide direction the city Community Development Department is conducting five surveys and studies that will examine: affordable housing, homeless needs, code enforcement practices, zoning and subdivision ordinances, and site selection for new housing development. These studies will provide a blueprint for managing scarce resources in the most efficient manner.

MAP 5 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.

MAP 6 is a map, sectioned by neighborhood, which depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.

MAP 7 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects within one of the four neighborhoods indicated in MAP 6.

MAP 8 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects within another of the four neighborhoods indicated in MAP 6.

MAP 9 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded project(s) from a street level vantage point, as well as provides a table with information about the project(s)


Description of Key Projects

During the first year of the Consolidated Plan, Hagerstown will undertake the following projects:

Additional housing projects include: loans to assist low- and moderate-income first-time homeowners, assistance for property acquisition for Habitat for Humanity's homeownership program, emergency repair grants to homeowners, interest and mortgage principal subsidies for low- and moderate-income homebuyers, and construction and expansion of a shelter for homeless persons and victims of domestic violence.

Other significant nonhousing community development projects planned for the first year include: increasing commercial space, studying downtown improvements, improving the downtown streetscape, constructing parks, rehabilitating and landscaping recreational spaces and facilities, improving flood drains and streets, repairing curbs and sidewalks, and altering child care centers.

To comment on Hagerstown's Consolidated Plan, please contact George Andreve, Manager, Department of Community Development, at 301-739-8577, extension 134.
Return to Maryland's Consolidated Plans.