Tee It Up to Help Us Prevent Homelessness
I hope it has been a wonderful summer for you. With schools starting, we have been busy this month getting backpacks and school supplies distributed to the children in our programs. As we head into the cooler weather of September, we hope you will join us for the 2nd annual Sheehy Toyota of Laurel Birdies for Bridges Golf Tournament. The event, which raises essential operating funds for Bridges, will be held at The Timbers at Troy golf course on Friday, Sep. 22. Teams play a best-ball format, so everyone on your team can have fun regardless of their ability. We still have spots for more golfers. You can register your four-person team or as an individual. Go to https://birdease.com/
We’re thankful for all of the sponsors that have stepped up to support Bridges through this event. Lots of food, fun, games, raffles, and prizes will make this a great day for everyone! If you can’t join us, please consider making a donation to support our work in the community.
Jen Broderick, LCSW
Help End Homelessness Howard County
It’s been just over one year since the Help End Homelessness (HEHC) program became a part of Bridges as the result of a generous donation. Originally created by members of Kittamaqundi Community Church, the HEH program provides subsidized rental homes for five households that earn extremely low income (30% of area median or less).
Kike Fisher-Akinyemi has served as case manager for the HEH clients since January 2023. Recently she provided intensive case management and employment referrals to a single mother in the program who had been unemployed for some time and was at risk of losing her housing. With Kike’s help, the client found employment that will allow her to remain stably housed. She is currently doing well with her job and is receiving training for additional responsibilities.
All other tenants in the program remain stably housed and are maintaining their employment. We hope to eventually expand the number of properties in the program so that we can provide stable housing to more households that earn extremely low income.
Partners Make a Difference in One Client’s Life
We’re so thankful for the Women’s Giving Circle’s Emergency Response Network, which recently raised $2,500 to prevent the eviction of one of our clients.
Cammie suffered the death of her teenage son seven years ago, followed by both her parents, with whom she lived. These tragedies resulted in the loss of her housing and depression for her and her surviving son. Cammie was rehoused through our Rapid Rehousing program in 2021. She had a job with the school system, but due to her ongoing struggles with mental and physical health, she had trouble keeping up with rent and was facing eviction this month. Fortunately, she was approved for a housing voucher that would allow her to pay 30% of her income for housing, but she had to pay her past-due balance first.
Several agencies offered to help Cammie if she raised a majority of the funding needed. Thanks to the Women’s Giving Circle’s Emergency Response Network, and partnerships with other agencies, her balance is being paid off and she can remain stably housed in her home with her son.
Funding for eviction prevention is scarce, so we are very grateful to our partners for helping Cammie.
Advocacy Update: Final Public Hearing on HoCo by Design
On Sep. 20, the County Council will hold its final public hearing on HoCo by Design, the update to Howard County’s general plan. The Council’s vote on the plan is expected in October. The new general plan will define policies governing land-use — including the maximum number of new homes that can be built each year — as well as updates to our environment, transportation system, and job-creation plans. These policies will be in effect for 10-20 years.
Current county policies restrict the number of new homes each year to a level that is well below the needs of our growing workforce. The resulting housing scarcity creates fierce competition for rentals and for-sale homes, which has driven up rents and home prices faster than wages. Consequently, already vulnerable members of our community are becoming even more housing-insecure.
The current draft of the general plan calls for a slowdown in housing production, below the already insufficient levels. If we are going to address our community’s housing crisis, we must begin producing more housing.
Want to dig deeper or get involved?
- 5-minute read: Howard County’s Housing Crisis – and Solutions
- 10-minute view: A County in Crisis: Testimony on Howard County’s General Plan
- Attend the Sep. 20 public hearing (7 pm). Location: 3430 Court House Drive, Ellicott City
- Email your written testimony to the County Council
- Register to deliver your testimony on Sep. 20 either in person or virtually
Join Us in One Month at Birdies for Bridges
In just one month, on September 22, the Birdies for Bridges Golf Tournament will take place at the scenic Timbers at Troy golf course. This isn’t just any golf tournament – it’s an opportunity to swing into action and make a difference in the lives of those in need.
Don’t miss your chance to be part of this impactful event. Whether you’re an avid golfer or just starting out, your participation matters. Join us for a day of golf, camaraderie, and community, and help us create lasting change.
Mark your calendars for September 22 and be prepared to tee up for affordable housing! Register your foursome, and find out more information about the day’s schedule at www.birdease.com/bridges2hs.
We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the sponsors who have already partnered with us to make this event possible: Sheehy Toyota Laurel, Howard Hughes, Assured Partners, Northrop Realty, Goldin Group LLC, Dr. James Bellor, Dresner Group, Slack Funeral Home, APL Federal Credit Union, Red Alpha, First Presbyterian Church of Howard County, TablesoccerUSA, Absolutely Perfect Catering and Events, Weinberg, Griffith, Tucker, Jones & Talesnik, P.A., Team Kinnear, Office Movers Express, eXp Realty, GorfineSchillerGardyn, and David Tartaglia.