8 agencies get funding

August 14, 2008|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Sun reporter

The Horizon Foundation is providing $223,748 to eight Howard County human services agencies this fiscal year, including $100,000 for the county-run North Laurel Multiservice Center.

The grants were announced by Horizon President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Krieg, who noted that the county's largest foundation has already donated $618,000 to help the multiservice center, in the Whiskey Bottom Shopping Center in the 9100 block of All Saints Road.

"The center is a vital part of the safety net in the southeastern part of the county," Krieg said in a news release announcing the grants.

The need is growing this year, he said, because of the national economic downturn combined with higher food and gas prices.

"It has become far more difficult for lower income Howard County families to survive at the margin," Krieg said.

The North Laurel center opened a year ago and houses seven agencies: the Community Action Council, an anti-poverty agency; the county Department of Social Services; the Domestic Violence Center; Legal Aid; FIRN, an immigrant aid group; Family and Children's Services; and the Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center, which operates the county's primary homeless shelter.

County officials placed the center in an area where services are needed in the hope that people with transportation problems could get help more easily, especially with several agencies in one location.

The county provides $163,537 for the center's budget this year, said Susan Rosenbaum, director of the county Department of Citizen Services. Horizon's $100,000 and $15,000 from the Columbia Foundation make up the rest, she said, allowing the center to more effectively do what it set out to do.

"We have been so pleased," Rosenbaum said. "We're seeing people we never would have seen."

Horizon was formed as part of the merger of Johns Hopkins and Howard County General hospitals. Other grants the foundation announced include $20,000 to NAMI of Howard County to help people with mental health problems, and $15,000 to the Salvation Army to help prevent evictions and utility turnoffs.

Also, $23,000 will go to Neighbor Ride, a volunteer group that gives rides to senior citizens; $20,000 to the ARC of Howard County; $10,748 to Running Brook Elementary School to reach out to parents new to the community, including Hispanic families; $10,000 to the Korean American Association; and $25,000 to the Volunteer Center Serving Howard County, a clearinghouse for volunteer opportunities in the county.

Krieg said the foundation also has established a Web site - www.horizonhelp.org - where families can find out about assistance provided by various organizations.


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