$1.6 million to aid the homeless

DIGEST

January 27, 2008

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded more than $1.6 million in federal grant money for services for the homeless, County Executive John R. Leopold announced last week.

The agency is sending:

$858,142 to provide housing vouchers and support services to more than 65 disabled individuals and families through programs operated by the Housing Commission of Anne Arundel County, the Anne Arundel County Mental Health Agency and the Maryland Mental Hygiene Administration.

$542,889 to continue to provide transitional housing or permanent supportive housing for a year for more than 25 homeless families and 19 homeless men through programs operated by Catholic Charities, the Arundel House of Hope, and Annapolis Area Ministries.

$70,786 to community residences to provide mental health assessments and support at shelters and transitional housing programs.

$111,725 to support two years of operation of the Arundel House of Hope's new Safe Haven program. It will provide permanent supportive housing for four homeless individuals with disabling conditions.

The funding was a result of the combined efforts of Arundel Community Development Services Inc., the Department of Social Services and members of the Anne Arundel and Annapolis Community Partnership to End Homelessness.

"This award enables the county to undertake a new program and renew its support for existing housing and supportive services benefiting our residents in greatest need -- our families and individuals confronted by economic crisis, or with severe mental illness and other disabilities, which make them unable to cope without public assistance," Leopold said. "Since these monies are awarded through a national competition, I am a pleased to report that Anne Arundel County has been consistently successful in receiving annual awards of these monies."

The funds will become available in July.

DUI/drug court plans a graduation

The Anne Arundel County District Court will hold a graduation celebration for nine participants in its driving under the influence/drug treatment court at 1:30 p.m. Thursday in the district courthouse in Annapolis.

Newly appointed Circuit Judge Michael Wachs will be the speaker. Wachs presided over DUI/drug court when he was a District Court judge.

"DUI/drug court is strict and challenging. Each of these individuals has reached a milestone in their road to recovery," said Judge Thomas J. Pryal, who presides over DUI/drug court. "All of our graduates have worked very hard to break their cycle of addiction and should be commended for their success."

Drug and DUI court programs provide treatment, supervision and judicial monitoring to habitual offenders whose crimes are addiction-driven. Participants take part in vocational, educational and life-skills training to address issues that contribute to their drug or alcohol abuse and criminal behavior.

Nationally, drug treatment court programs have emerged as a practical, cost-effective alternative to incarceration. Re-arrest rates for drug court graduates are significantly lower than for the general population.

More than 600 people have graduated from the Anne Arundel County program since it began 10 years ago. Maryland's first drug treatment court began in Baltimore in 1994, and there are now 39 drug treatment courts throughout the state with more planned.

Unity Gardens seeks grant applications

Unity Gardens, a nonprofit organization that supports building community partnerships through greening projects, environmental enhancement, and education in Anne Arundel County, is seeking grant applications for new projects.

It offers grants of up to $1,000 twice a year to coincide with the spring and fall growing seasons. Applications for the spring grant cycle will be accepted from Friday to March 14. All grant recipients are required to attend a workshop March 29.

Information: www.unity gardens.org, or 410-703-7530.

Group is taking grant applications

Anne Arundel Women Giving Together, a women's giving group that supports nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping women and families in Anne Arundel County, is accepting applications for 2008 grants.

One-year grants up to $10,000 are available for 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organizations for programs in education, health and welfare and prevention of violence and abuse.

Grant applications can be downloaded from www.giving together.org or mailed to the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County, 914 Bay Ridge Road, Suite 220, Annapolis 21043.

Applications must be received by noon, Feb. 15.

Information: 240-777-3690.

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