The private agency designated to serve Carroll County's low-income families is applying for a grant that would help it do so more efficiently, said Sylvia Canon, executive director for Human Services Programs of Carroll County Inc.
"It would be a one-stop shopping set-up," Ms. Canon said.
If a person needed help but didn't know whether to go to state, county or private agencies, Human Services Programs would be able to direct him through an information and referral system it wants to start.
The agency already does that to some extent, she said, but the United Way of Central Maryland grant that Human Services is seeking -- $50,000 a year for three years -- would provide more staff and a data base to keep people from getting lost in bureaucracy, Ms. Canon said.
Ms. Canon said the data base could hold information on clients.
That would save time and trouble for people seeking help.
They wouldn't have to repeat all the information each time they go to a new agency, Ms. Canon said.
It would be easier for the agencies, who could share some forms and information, she said.
The nonprofit Human Services Programs is Carroll County's "community action agency," a state and federal designation that stemmed from anti-poverty groups started by President Lyndon Johnson during the 1960s.
Human Services got the formal designation in 1990.
As a community action agency, it received $21,425 this month, a renewal of last year's grant from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.
That state office is in charge of distributing $5.3 million this year in federal funds for anti-poverty agencies across Maryland.
Ms. Canon said the $21,425 her agency receives pays part of the salary and expenses for the volunteer coordinator, Barbara Brown.
County low-income residents go to Human Services for fuel assistance, emergency shelter, teen-parent education, short-term loans for the working poor, help avoiding eviction and other aid.
The agency, and particularly Ms. Brown, also coordinates Neighbors in Need, the holiday charity effort involving several other agencies, businesses and churches.
The headquarters of Human Services Programs is at 10 Distillery Drive in Westminster.