'Dream Team' To Help Housing

June 23, 1991|By JoAnna Daemmrich | JoAnna Daemmrich,Staff writer

They call themselves the Dream Team.

A loose coalition of government workers and children's advocates, they are united by their dream of making a difference for families living in the public housing projects.

Representatives from the Anne Arundel Housing Authority, the Department of Recreation and Parks and county government met last week tomap strategies for new services.

"I think there's a lot of good this group can do," said Karen Michalec, the county's coordinator of social services, who dubbed the informal committee the "Dream Team."

Most of the early plans, including a summer lunch program, a community cleanup and children's recreation leagues, target Meade Village and Freetown. Both communities for low-income families have been neglected except for sporadic efforts.

County Executive Robert R. Neallset up the committee to provide support for the beleaguered housing authority. The agency has been struggling to overcome a legacy of poor management, maintenance problems and high vacancy rates in its seven housing projects.

Neall spokeswoman Louise Hayman said the county executive met recently with Charles St. Lawrence, chairman of the housing board, to discuss improving ties. He and St. Lawrence agreed to work more closely in resolving some of the agency's long-standing problems.

County Council members, who met with the authority in January for the first time in more than a decade, also have stressed theneed for better cooperation.

"The whole idea behind this group isto coordinate services," said Glenndale Johnson, occupancy supervisor for the housing authority.

Johnson has been working with residents of Meade Village to organize a Super Saturday cleanup and cookout.Tenants will install a chain-link fence around the community center,plant flowers and enjoy free hot dogs at the festival planned for Saturday.

She also is coordinating a six-week summer lunch program for more than 275 children from Freetown and Meade. Children will be served a free breakfast and lunch starting July 1.

Other plans being considered by the Dream Team include set ting up new swing sets, encouraging children to sign up for summer camps sponsored by the Office of Drug and Alcohol Programs, and creating more recreation programsfor younger children, Michalec said.

The Office of Drug and Alcohol Programs is planning summer field trips to museums, the Baltimore Aquarium and other spots, said Richard Johnson, who runs the community programs. He said the office also wants to start some arts and crafts or recreation activities for 5-year-olds and younger children. Theolder children are eligible for the lunch program.

Johnson and several other county employees had not heard about the Dream Team. But Michalec said that wasn't surprising. She only came up with the catchy nickname for the informal committee last week.

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