On Friday, August 4, 2017, Heritage Housing Partners Corporation (previously known as Columbia Interfaith Housing and the Columbia housing Corporation) kicked off a year-long celebration of their 50th anniversary of providing affordable housing in Howard County by hosting a happy hour at the new Nonprofit Collaborative. The party started at 5:30 pm with music by House Party East who donated their talents to the event. Thanks to other generous donations, there was great food from Seasons 52 and Iron Bridge Wine Company, beer from Heavy Seas Brewery and a cake from Oh What A Cake Bakery.
At 6:15 PM Executive Director, Grace Morris welcomed the crowd and introduced Andrew Howard who was representing County Executive Allan Kittleman. Mr. Howard presented a certificate of recognition to the organization. Dr. Calvin Ball representing the Howard County Council then presented an honorary resolution to the organization and Vikki Garcia representing Congressman John Sarbanes office presented a certificate of special recognition.
HHP Board President, Edward “Chip” Plitt then talked about the history of the organization stating that HHP began as Columbia Interfaith Housing in 1967 with the construction of five scattered site family properties in the heart of Columbia. Over the years the organization grew and added the Shalom Square property for the elderly and disabled in 1979 and then though out the next 20 plus years began adding group home facilities to the portfolio in partnership with several area service providers including Arc and Humanim. Currently, HHP owns and or manages nearly 100 units for disabled residents. HHP has also participated in a variety of other housing programs and activities including several home buyer assistance programs, the construction of new homes, and an award winning after school program.
In addition to reflecting on our past, Chip said, we also want to use the next year to celebrate the future. The staff have just moved in to this lovely new facility and we know that it will bring about many wonderful opportunities for collaboration. We have recently received approval from the IRS to become a 501 c 3, changing from a 501 c 4, which we hope will open the door to other funding opportunities. And, we are also currently working on plans to redevelop our Shalom Square property.
Chip thanked the sponsors and donors for their contributions to the evening’s event:
Iron Bridge Wine Company
Oh What A Cake
Oxford Planning Group
Julia Mattis, Realtor
Heavy Seas Brewery
Lyndwood Liquors and Richburn Liquors
And the band, House Party East
Chip thanked the HHP Board Members who volunteer their time and energy to support of the important mission of the organization and who also donated many bottles of wine to the event and he asked those in attendance to please raise their hands and be acknowledged. The then thanked the members of the 50th Anniversary Cmte: Patricia Branner Pierce, Mimi O”Donnell, Vernon Gray, Kevin Kelehan, Julia Mattis, Sherman Howell, Katie Furlong, Roy Appletree and Jean Lewis.
Chip thanked and acknowledged the HHP Corp staff – Dana Lyons, Guy Coates, Marcus Smith, Mary Drain, Marice Coates and Grace Morris. And also thanked Greyson Lyons (11 years old) and Sara Morris (11 years old), the children of HHP staff members, for all of their efforts to help with the recent move!
Chip shared with the crowd that one of the activities that HHP is so honored to have been a part of for the past 20 years is the award winning Community Based Learning Centers. This After School Enrichment Program was started in partnership with the Howard County Public Schools. Instead of talking about it, a seven minute video, created and produced by Cris Oviedo, was shown. (the video may be found under Cris Oviedo You Tube After School Program).
Chip concluded his remarks by saying that he hoped everyone was enjoying the event as it is the first of three events that are going to be held to mark the 50th anniversary. In the spring of 2018, HHP will be hosting the first Annual Heritage Legacy Award’s breakfast. Applications will be available in early 2018. HHP will then wrap up the year-long celebration with a picnic at Centennial Park in pavilion H on Saturday, July 28, 2018 with a corn hole contest and other fun activities being planned. We also plan to be releasing other videos throughout the year.