ACS Executive Director Joan Driessen testified on behalf of ACS members at last month’s hearing at which County Executive Kittleman invited public comments on fiscal year 2018 budget priorities.   Ms. Driessen’s testimony focused on: 

  • appreciation for County start-up and ongoing support for the Nonprofit Center.
  • a request for a three-percent increase in Community Service Partnership Grants funding to enable nonprofit recipients to provide small staff raises, hire additional staff, and/or absorb rent and other operations increases.
  • movement to multi-year CSP grants for nonprofits based on (1) the importance of the service in relation to County priorities; (2) whether the non-profit is a sole provider of critical services; and/or (3) expenditures above a set amount.
  • sufficient DHCD and DCRS staffing and programmatic resources to ensure both departments can maximize opportunities to increase access to and the number of affordable housing units.
  •  increased funding for the Housing Stability Subsidy Program (HSSP).
  • improvements in local transportation needs such as reductions in waiting times on bus routes used heavily by low income, aging and disability populations and ensuring accessibility and safety at all County bus stops.

In separate testimony, Public Policy Co-Chair Grace Morris requested additional resources for the County’s Plan to End Homelessness (PEH). Acknowledging the many accomplishments since institution of the PEH, Ms.Morris noted that much work remains to be done to achieve the Plan’s goals asking specifically for increased investment to reduce CSHS case management waiting lists and doubling the number of HSSP vouchers.   Ms. Morris’ testimony was followed by that of Nora Wood who shared how the CSHS helped her move from near homelessness to a now stable home for her and her daughter.  In concluding her testimony Ms. Wood presented Mr. Kittleman with 900 postcards signed by Howard County residents in support of the PEH that had been gathered in November during the ACS coordinated PEH education and advocacy campaign.

Click here to read Grace Morris’ testimony from the budget hearing.