State is working on 'one-stop' assistance centers

December 17, 2009

Your editorial "Cut the Red Tape" (Dec. 8) properly highlighted some of the tough challenges Maryland faces in reaching out to people in need of food stamps and other benefits and streamlining what is often a burdensome application process. But one point deserves correction. The editorial said the state has not "partnered with local community organizations to create one-stop application centers where families could sign up for all the benefits they are eligible for at the same time."

In fact, the Maryland Department of Human Resources has been working for several months with the members of the One-Stop Shop Work Group that BGE convened this summer to help improve access to vitally needed human service benefits. Together we are working to recruit and identify community organizations to help eligible clients get the support they need. Our goal - which we share with the state of Maryland - is to reduce the barriers that keep people of limited means from accessing the kind of assistance that can help them move toward self-sufficiency.

The state has much work to do to provide accessible supportive services to all who are eligible. But it is reaching out to create new partnerships with willing community organizations, and it should be applauded for this.David Conn, Baltimore

The writer is the Energy Assistance Program director at BGE.

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