A Single Night in Howard County

Volunteers Conduct "Point in Time" Count of Homelessness

On Jan. 24, a surprisingly warm night, teams of volunteers participating in the 2024 Point in Time (PIT) Count went out into the streets, woods, and farmlands of Howard County to locate residents who are experiencing homelessness. I was on team 6, and we focused on the Jessup and Elkridge areas. We found some kind, soft-spoken, scared young men at a gas station and fast-food restaurant. We surveyed them, gave them a backpack full of supplies to keep them warm and fed for the night, and suggested that they call the crisis hotline to get on the list for services. 

Howard County’s 2024 PIT data won’t be finalized for a few more weeks, but I’m hopeful that the 12% decrease in homelessness between 2022 and 2023 was the start of a

long-term trend. But unfortunately, although the number of unhoused people went down over that span, the number of unhoused seniors 55+ increased by 75%. And households of color continue to experience disproportionate rates of homelessness. 

 

Bridges works hard to address housing insecurity in Howard County through a variety of programs and approaches. As we see a rising number of seniors who are experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of homelessness, we are approaching funders to help us launch a shared housing program for seniors.  

 

We are also continuing our advocacy locally and in Annapolis for more affordable housing. Ending homelessness in Howard County is possible, but we need your help. Please show your support for more affordable housing in our community through your advocacy and financial support of programs that are working. Your voice – and your donations – do make a difference. 

 

Thank you for your support, 

 

Jennifer Broderick, LCSW

Executive Directo

Client Success Story

“Bridges Found Me”

When the condo she rented was listed for sale, Lucy thought that she and her children would be forced to move. Fortunately, Bridges to Housing Stability was the new owner. Read Lucy’s story here.  

Lucys story

Volunteer Highlight

Mike & Kathleen

Mike and Kathleen Hyde have been volunteering with Bridges since October of 2023. They come in every Wednesday and help with whatever is needed around the office. They have helped with making phone calls, organizing our Welcome Home Baskets, fixing our computers, decorating the office and so much more! In addition to Bridges, Mike and Kathleen are very involved in their church. They love to go out to find new places to eat and just enjoy each other’s company. When they are not volunteering with Bridges or their church, they enjoy spending time with their grandchildren. 

Program Snapshot

New Program is Rehousing Students and Their Families

Our newest program, Family Home Start, provides move-in assistance for Howard County Public School students and their families experiencing homelessness. Since the program’s launch on Feb. 5, two families have received move-in assistance, and nine families are actively searching for rental housing. Another 40 families are gathering eligibility-related documents.

 

There are three eligibility requirements for the program:  

 

1. One or more children are enrolled in Howard County public schools.

2. The family is experiencing homelessness as defined here: https://bit.ly/3SejBhs 

3. Household income is between 40-60% of Howard County median income:

Example: A family of 3 must earn between $46,638 and $69,956 annually.

To apply for assistance from this program, use this link: https://bit.ly/3vXHyR7 

We are grateful for funding assistance for this program from the Howard County Dept. of Housing and Community Development.  

Donor Highlight

"Go with God" Transportation Fund

Sue Hill is a member of Emmanuel United Methodist Church, one of the founding congregations of Bridges in 1990. When she was looking to sell her car, Sue asked if anyone at Bridges could use it. After speaking with Executive Director Jen Broderick about the needs of Bridges’ clients, Sue felt called to help. She decided to sell her car and donate the proceeds to Bridges to launch the “Go with God” transportation fund. While Bridges is looking for ways to help this fund grow, our clients now have access to assistance for gas, bus passes, minor repairs, and other transportation needs. Thank you, Sue, for your major impact on the day to day needs of your community!

2023 Community Grant Awarded to Bridges!

Bridges was recently honored to receive a $5,000 community grant award from the Community Foundation of Howard County to support our operations. Local giving means better living for all of us. This grant will allow us to continue the work to end homelessness in Howard County and ensure everyone in our community has a place to call home.

For more than 50 years, the Community Foundation of Howard County has served as a knowledgeable, trusted partner that forges connections between donors and nonprofit organizations to provide impactful investments in Howard County. Last year the foundation awarded $1.75 million across 480 grants and scholarships to organizations delivering human services, arts and cultural, educational and civic programs. Funds to support grant programs comes primarily from income generated by the foundation’s endowment supported by nearly 400 funds established by Howard County businesses, families and individuals. For more information, visit CFHoCo.org or call 410-730-7840.

Beans & Bags for Bridges

Join us for an unforgettable day of fun, community, and support for an end to homelessness at Beans & Bags for Bridges on May 5th, 12:30 – 3:00PM at Centennial Park, Pavilion H! Enjoy delicious chili from Absolutely Perfect Catering, compete in our friendly cornhole tournament, and listen to live music by local musicians.

Tickets are on sale now for in-person and carry out meals. This year we’ve added kids meals and we’re bringing back our children’s art project! Kids will have the chance to create art with the theme “Everyone in Howard County Deserves a Home.”

For more information about sponsoring or getting your congregation involved, visit our website or contact Emily Brandon at emily@bridges2hs.org or 410-312-5760 ext. 106.

Logo for the Beans & Bags for Bridges event - it has a chili over flames

Thank you to our early Cornhole Tournament sponsor, Reno & Cavanaugh, PLLC!