To celebrate MHP’s 30th anniversary, we will share 30 stories that trace important milestones in our history and demonstrate our commitment to housing people, empowering families, and strengthening neighborhoods.
1: In the Beginning
MHP’s history is grounded in grassroots community activism and a commitment to social justice. In the summer of 1988, Rev. Lincoln “Lon” Dring and housing activist Peg McRory gathered a group of friends and acquaintances around Peg’s dining room table. They were concerned about the lack of quality, affordable housing in Montgomery County, and decided to form a nonprofit housing organization that could work with local governments and the community to identify and implement viable solutions. From this vision, MHP was born in 1989.
2: Norman L. Christeller
Norman L. Christeller practiced what he preached, living out his belief that it is important to leave a place a little better than you found it. A strong advocate for affordable housing and development of mixed-income communities in Montgomery County, he helped create MHP and then agreed to serve as the organization’s first president. He was instrumental in passage of a groundbreaking Montgomery County law mandating that developers include moderately-priced homes in their projects. Before leading MHP, he served on the Montgomery County Council and county planning board. MHP’s Amherst Square Community Center is named after him to honor his memory. His legacy also lives on in the Annual Norman Christeller Golf Classic, providing essential funds for MHP Community Life programs for children, which he strongly supported.
3: Growing Up MHP – Kony’s Story
In so many ways, Kony is what MHP is all about. As a young child, she grew up in an MHP home, attending MHP afterschool programs. When she was old enough, she volunteered at the same programs. After high school, Kony worked as an Americorps member supporting MHP enrichment programs. Now, she is an employee, serving as the site manager for one of MHP’s Community Life student enrichment programs. Through it all, with support and guidance from MHP staff, she aspired, inspired and overcame challenges that she didn’t let stop her. Read her full story.
4: Fair Housing Act Opens Doors
On April 11, 1968, the Fair Housing Act was signed into law as part of the landmark Civil Rights Act. The law opened doors that previously were closed to classes of people, particularly affecting those facing economic challenges. A core tenet of the statute is that all people must have equal opportunities to access housing and cannot be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status and disability. More recently, Montgomery County added protections on the basis of sexual orientation and source of income.