Federal grant set to help families

Howard to use funds to boost self-sufficiency


Howard County's Department of Housing and Community Development has won a $1.2 million grant to help families with low and moderate incomes in what is an increasingly expensive place to live, officials announced yesterday.

The community development block grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, will be used for programs the county is supporting.

Neil Gaffney, deputy director of the county's housing department, said the initiatives are aimed at making lower-income families more self-sufficient. Several provide career training, from child-care certification -- allowing entry-level employees to move up to better-paying jobs -- to resume-writing help.

The department also intends to use the money to help families with down payments on houses and to support Cars for Careers Inc., a nonprofit organization that links people with transportation.

"If you live in Howard County [and] you don't have a car, it's very difficult to get around," Gaffney said. "You can't really run around through the bus service and get everywhere."

Community development block grants must be used to help low- and moderate-income people, to fight slums and blight or to address an emergency need. The money cannot be used for schools or other public buildings.

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