Tag Archives: Department of Community Services

QAC Emergency Homeless Prevention Funding Depleted After Serving 79 Households

All it took was one medical crisis for the “Smith” family to lose their income and their apartment. In September, 2012, Mr. “Smith” suffered a seizure severe enough for him to lose his job as a truck driver. The family was able to get emergency help in the form of food stamps; however, they were unable to continue making their rent payments. Fortunately, in October, Mr. Smith found a job in a local plant nursery. The couple applied to Queen Anne’s County Housing and Community Services for help and through the Emergency Services Grant Program (ESG) they received $500 toward their first month’s rent in a less expensive apartment and were rehoused by November 1, 2013.

The ESG Program also provided funds to assist the “Davis” family when they suffered the sudden death of Mr. Davis, a husband and father of two teenaged boys. The family was in imminent risk of losing their apartment due to loss of income, but a $500 emergency assistance payment provided enough help to keep them housed.

Employees of the Queen Anne’s County Division of Housing and Community Services with the Department of Community Services (DHCS) know the extent of poverty within the community. Victoria Petrie, Housing Program Administrator, is responsible for the intake and qualification of applicants for the homeless prevention programs. The programs help prevent rental evictions and utility cut-offs and provide short-term emergency motel stays. Mrs. Petrie reports that DHCS typically runs out of funding shortly after it is received and cannot provide much needed services for the remainder of the year.

Case in point: The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) allocated Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) 2nd allocation money to each state. Individual jurisdictions competed for the funding and Queen Anne’s County received $18,000. This program funding was to be expended between August 2012 and August 2013. By January 2013, only five months after the program started, the money was depleted.

DHCS receives funding from two other sources: The Emergency and Transitional Housing & Services Program (ETHS), and the Homeless Prevention Program (HPP). The ETHS monies provide for $6,510 in rental payments for those facing eviction and $1,000 for emergency motel stays for the homeless. This money was exhausted within three months. The HPP program was funded in the amount of $4,610 and was gone in less than two months.

The average amount awarded to each household for rent is $350.00, barely enough to stave off eviction. In Queen Anne’s County the fair market rental for a two bedroom unit is $1,231.00, a three bedroom is $1,581.00 (HUD 2012 Fair Market Rents Schedule B). Most program recipients need to seek additional help from other sources.

A household may only apply for aid once in a calendar year from DHCS. They must provide an eviction, utility cut-off notice or a new lease for help getting into a rental unit. They must also provide a driver’s license or ID, birth certificates and income documentation for all household members. Additionally, all clients are referred to the Queen Anne’s County Department of Social Services to link up with additional services. Clients with utility cut-off notices must provide a referral form the Maryland Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) stating that they cannot provide services to the family.

In 2009, DHCS was fortunate enough to apply for and receive money from an additional program: the Homeless Prevention Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP/RAP). They received over $120,000 for direct client services to prevent homelessness. The term of the grant was for 3 years (36 months). The Department ran out of funding in 29 ½ months. DHCS assisted 232 Queen Anne’s County households (555 citizens) through the HPRP/RAP program. Unfortunately these funds are no longer available. The additional number of households served with this one-time funding source shows a much greater need in the County than the existing programs can handle.

In the current fiscal year, DHCS served 79 households (177 people) through the ETHS/HPP and ESG 2nd Allocation programs. Many more have been and will be turned away because funding is exhausted. DHCS continues to seek out additional resources to help the community through government agencies, non-profit entities or special initiatives. The challenge to assist the citizens of Queen Anne’s County becomes greater each year as funding opportunities decrease, the cost of housing and utility increases and more families are in need.

Queen Anne’s County Department of Community Services, Division of Housing and Community Services (DHCS) helped both families and many other County residents in a time of critical need. But, unfortunately, the funding never goes far enough. If you are interested in making a tax deductible donation to help support homeless prevention programs please call the Division of Housing and Community Services at 410-758-3977.

Magic Candle Stories Illuminate Library

Magic Candle Tales, an evening program featuring stories and creative activities for elementary-aged children, begins at the Kent Island Branch of the Queen Anne’s County Free Library on Monday, November 12 from 6:30-7:15 p.m.

Gathered around a candle in the children’s room of the library, children will read and sing before engaging in creative activities. This month’s program features stories about homes and the opportunity to build houses using LEGO bricks or foam sheets. Houses created during the program will be featured in the library’s lobby display cases.

November 10-18 is National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week as sponsored by the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness.

To increase awareness of this growing epidemic, the Local Management Board and the Department of Community Services, Division of Housing and Community Services have teamed with the library to present this month’s Magic Candle Stories to help bring a better understanding of hunger/homelessness to local students.

Families attending the program are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item for the emergency food pantry at Safe Harbor. The library will continue to accept donations throughout the month of November.

The library is located at 200 Library Circle in Stevensville. All library programs are free of charge. No registration is required for Magic Candle Stories.

Mortgage Program for Moderate Income Homebuyers

Queen Anne’s County Department of Community Services, Housing and Community Services is pleased to announce the Moderately Priced Dwelling Unit (MPDU) Second Mortgage Program for moderate-income homebuyers in Queen-Anne’s County. Under this program eligible recipients can receive second mortgage assistance to purchase a home in Queen Anne’s County.

Loans will be awarded to applicants who meet all the criteria in an amount not more than 33 percent of the appraised value of the home or not to exceed $50,000. The home must be located in Queen Anne’s County and must be the applicant’s primary and only property. No payments need to be made on the loan until the property is sold or is no longer the owner’s principal residence at which point the interest free loan is due and payable in full. Once the loan has been paid back, funds become available for another loan.

Approved Applicants Must Have Income That Is 80 percent or less than the area median income as determined by The United States Department Of Housing And Urban Development (HUD). The maximum allowable income limits, as of August 1, 2012, are listed below:

1 person household = $45,000
2 person household = $52,000
3 person household = $58,500
4 person household = $65,000
5 person household = $70,200
6 person household = $75,400
7 person household = $80,600

MPDU Second Mortgage Loans are awarded on a first-come first-served basis with bonus points awarded for (1) Critical Workforce Employees (CWF), and (2) Queen Anne’s County Residents. Critical Workforce Employees are defined as: Volunteer Firefighters, Detention Center Employees, Emergency Medical Technicians, Police and Teachers who are employed by Queen Anne’s County. However all are welcome to apply.

In addition to meeting the allowable income limits, an individual or family may not currently own a home, nor have owned a home within the last five years and they must never have owned a Moderately Priced Dwelling Unit (MPDU) in Maryland or any other state. They must have a good credit rating, steady income, and the home must be affordable for their income. Along with the application process, an individual or family must be able to obtain a pre-qualification letter from a lending institution for an amount not less than the purchase price and remain income eligible up to the time their mortgage is submitted for underwriting. Each eligible person must provide a certificate showing they have completed 6 hours of home ownership counseling.

The initiative is a Queen Anne’s County program funded by developers who opt to pay a fee-in-lieu of actually providing Moderately Priced Dwelling Units (MPDU’s) in new developments. For more information, and to obtain an application, please contact Candice Darling, Housing Program Administrator at (410) 758-3977 x 2070 or visit our website www.qacdhcs.org and click on the MPDU link on the left-hand side.

Elder Abuse Awareness Day

On June 15 the Queen Anne’s County Department of Community Services will join older adults in Maryland and those who care about them in celebrating World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). WEAAD is a national and world wide call to action highlighting the too often ignored issue of Elder Abuse.

In the United States, there are over one million reports of elderly and vulnerable adult abuse which is only the tip of the iceberg with an estimated one in fourteen cases reported. Too often, seniors are abused, neglected and exploited by the people they trust the most. Abuse takes many forms, some involving intimidation or threats against the elderly, some involving neglect, and others involving financial trickery. The most common types of abuses are physical, emotional, sexual, or neglect by abandonment. Elder abuse can occur anywhere – in the home, in nursing homes, or other institutions.

Citizens and businesses are invited to show the world you care about ending Elder Abuse and Neglect by wearing something purple on June 15. The day will be honored with a showing of “An Age For Justice: Confronting Elder Abuse in America” at noon at the Kramer Center, 104 Powell Street, Centreville. A round table discussion will follow. Light refreshments will be served. To register or for more information contact Kia Reed at 410-758-0848 ext. 2714.

Everyone is encouraged to report suspected mistreatment and to stay in contact with older friends, neighbors and relatives. Maintaining communication will help decrease isolation, a risk factor for mistreatment.

You do not need to prove that abuse is occurring; it is up to the professionals to investigate the suspicions. For more information about World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, go to www.aging.maryland.gov and to http://www.inpea.net/weaad.html.

10th Annual Senior Summit and Picnic

Queen Anne’s County Department of Community Services, Area Agency on Aging invite the public of all ages to join in the festivities at its’ 10th Annual Senior Summit and Picnic. Save the date Friday May 11, 2012 because you won’t want to miss the fun! Highlights include live country music performed by the Jones Boys, special visits from Baltimore Ravens mascot Poe and the Chic-fil-a Cow, live radio broadcast by 96.7 WCEI, and Classic Cars on display. There will be health screenings, workshops, demonstrations, vendors, give-a-ways and more. Admission and parking are free. Lunch will include ¼ lb Hot Dog on Bun, Coleslaw, Baked Beans, and Ice Cream Dessert. Lunch tickets cost $7 and are available now at all Queen Anne’s County Senior Centers or at the 4-H Park during the event. The celebration will take place 9:30AM – 2PM at Queen Anne’s County 4-H Park, Centreville. Vendor opportunities are available for those interested in marketing their services to the seniors. Call (410) 758-0848 for more information.

10th Annual QAC Senior Summit and Picnic May 11th

Queen Anne’s County Department of Community Services, Area Agency on Aging invites the public to join in the festivities at its’ 10th Annual Senior Summit and Picnic. Save the date Friday May 11, 2012 because you won’t want to miss the fun! Enjoy food, entertainment, give-a-ways, classic cars, special guest appearance and much more. The celebration will take place 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Queen Anne’s County 4-H Park, Centreville. Vendor opportunities are available for those interested in marketing their services to the seniors. Call (410) 758-0848 for more information.

Baltimore Luncheon For Those Age 100 And Older

The Maryland Centenarians Committee, Inc. is pleased to announce the 20th Annual Maryland Centenarians Recognition Luncheon Thursday, May 10, 2012 at Martin’s West in Baltimore. This event, held in observance of Older Americans Month pays tribute to Maryland citizens who have reached or surpassed the landmark age of 100. If you are a Queen Anne’s County resident, 100 years or older and would like to attend this event. Please contact Amy Jewell at the Queen Anne’s County Department of Community Services Area Agency on Aging 410-758-0848.

Cooling Center Open

Due to the excessive heat forecast, Queen Anne’s County’s three senior centers and the Department of Community Services building at the Kramer Center will be open to the public as cooling centers from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will have ice machines and water readily available. Please contact the Department of Emergency Services, 410-758-4500, if you are aware of any vulnerable adults who do not have access to a cool environment or transportation to get to one. In Kent County, there are cooling centers at the Chestertown Library and Galena Library. Both are open until 6pm. You’re encouraged to call the Department Of Health at 410-778-1350 if you know of someone in heat-related distress.