History

Children's Home Explanation - Somewhere safe you can stay.

Everyone should have a home children's drawing

Bridges is proud of its 30-year history addressing homelessness in Howard County.

Community Response Phase: Early 1990s

  • The original corporate name was Churches Concerned for the Homeless.
  • Founded by people of faith to respond to the emergence of family homelessness in Howard County.
  • Board, staff and funding came from several member congregations.
  • Program focused on transitional housing with case management.

Transitional Housing Agency: Mid 1990s to 2008

  • Name changed to Congregations Concerned for the Homeless (CCH), to reflect a more diverse faith partnership.
  • Housing units acquired with government loans and grants.
  • Funding diversified to include private, foundations, and government.
  • Operating 21 units of transitional housing by 2007.
  • A Fire in 2008 burned down the Bridges offices and the organization found itself experiencing homelessness

New Paradigm for Addressing Homelessness: 2009 and forward

  • Re-named Bridges to Housing Stability to focus on solutions and expand programming and moved to a new office suite.
  • Incorporated new, evidence-based national paradigm Communities solve homelessness with coordinated services and permanent housing.
  • Helped establish the Howard County Plan to End Homelessness (PEH), adopted in 2010.
  • Aligned programming to PEH goals of:
    • Coordinated System of Homeless Services
    • Permanent affordable housing solutions to
      • End chronic homelessness
      • Prevent family homelessness
  • Began running Housing Stability Subsidy Program in 2013, a Permanent Supportive Housing program for frequently homeless and chronically homeless households.

Advocacy Role: 2010 and forward

  • Based on 20+ years with homeless families, Bridges identified link between shortage of affordable housing and homelessness among low-wage workers.
  • Leading others to create housing units that are affordable to low-wage workers.
  • Joining with others to influence housing policy including the Full Spectrum Housing Coalition, Association of Community Services Public Policy Committee, Howard County Housing Affordability Coalition, and Maryland Affordable Housing Coalition.

Affordable Housing Focus: 2013 and forward

  • Launched Bridges Alliance, an income-based affordable housing program featuring Circle of Support and educational workshops. 40 Units of housing by Fall 2019.
  • Created¬†Housing Connections¬†in 2016, to connect low income households with housing barriers to landlords and provide support and connection to tenant and landlord for successful rentals.
  • Began Rapid Rehousing of families (Shelter Diversion 2014) and individuals (2018) into housing within 45 days of entering services