Howard County housing has been in the spotlight this past month. On Oct. 11, the County Council approved an amended “HoCo by Design,” our county’s general plan. The plan’s growth policies include additional affordable housing (both rental and for-sale), detached accessory dwelling units (ADUs), and a sharper focus on adding homes for people with disabilities and seniors who earn low income. The next steps in the process are to plan for the impacts of new growth on our infrastructure (including schools) and undertake comprehensive rezoning. We have many years and much advocacy ahead before we could see a significant number of additional affordable homes.
Also in October, County Executive Calvin Ball announced the HOME initiative (Housing Opportunities Meant for Everyone). Among other elements of the plan, Bridges will receive a $1 million grant to support rehousing of Howard County schoolchildren and their families who are experiencing homelessness. Starting in early 2024, we will support eligible families with security deposit guarantees, move-in assistance, and case management.
We’re excited to be working on this program with the school system and their Pupil Personnel Workers. For many years, our organization’s tag line was “Every Family Should Have a Home.” Funding from the HOME Plan will help many families find a permanent place in our community. We’re so happy to be a part of their journey home.
As we enter the holiday season, I want to share how thankful I am for everyone in the community who supports our work. For every success we have with a household, there is a big group of supporters in the background who have made that success possible.
Jen Broderick, LCSW
Grant Will Help Clients Improve Credit
We are excited to announce a grant from the Credit Builders Alliance. We’ll use the funds to create a rent-reporting program to help tenants in our affordable housing programs improve their credit scores.
For families that earn lower incomes, an unexpected expense or loss of income often results in late payments of rent — which can reduce their credit score. And poor credit is a significant barrier to housing stability, because many landlords use credit scores to determine whether to accept candidates for tenancy.
Through the support from Credit Builders Alliance, we will create a rent reporting program for positive increases to our tenants’ credit scores. Tenants will be able to build credit and improve their financial capacity. And for the many tenants who aspire to home ownership, they will be a step closer.
A Blustery but Warming Day at the Races
Thank you for joining us at the Cattail Chase Races on Oct. 15, where your presence, even in the face of blustery winds, made the event special. Your unwavering support and enthusiasm warmed our hearts, and your commitment to our mission inspires us. We look forward to creating more meaningful moments together in the future!
Charm City Run Supports Bridges
Bright and early on a chilly October morning, Bridges’ volunteers staffed an info table at the Charm City Run Oktoberfest 5 miler. For years, Charm City Run has donated a portion of race proceeds to Bridges. Our volunteers were ready to hand out medals and answer questions about the work of Bridges. We are grateful for the support from a great local business!
HoCo Housing Challenges (Continued)
Regina Lee is a tireless advocate for people with disabilities. She serves on numerous nonprofit boards, is active in social justice work through her church, and is a reliable attendee at community events related to health or housing. She does all this from her wheelchair. As part of our advocacy work with the Housing Affordability Coalition, we created a video about Regina’s inspiring story.