Monday, June 25, 2012

Ending Homelessness in Howard County, Part 2 (LINKS)

In 2011, we raised $3,025 to End Homelessness in Howard County.  This money went directly to Grassroots Crisis Prevention Center, which used the funds to provide a security deposit for a sober house here in Howard County.  The house opened last August and currently provides housing for four men who are no longer homeless, two of which will celebrate a full year of sobriety at the anniversary of the opening in two months.

This house has been so successful that they are looking to open a second house and need our help.  The newly formed 501(c)(3) Living in Recovery needs $2,300 by the beginning of July.  Knowing what we are able to do last year, LIR came to us to see if we can help. 

Last year, we met our first goal well short of the deadline, but a second attempt for another $3,000 later that year fell flat.  I mostly blame myself for this, since I really didn't have the time necessary to promote the effort and otherwise committed to things like a wrap-up party that just wouldn't jive with what I already have on my plate (unless people want to get together for a party at 6 am).

We have already helped change the lives of four people who may never spend another night living in the woods.  Let's help four more.  The recently endorsed Plan to End Homelessness needs private action like this one to supplement its efforts.  The last census counted 211 homeless men and women in Howard County.  Four less people on the streets is huge.  As I said before, each person offered a new life acts as the abolition of homelessness in their lives.  We are ending homelessness tent by tent.

To close my sales pitch, I never felt more in touch or close to readers as I did when we raised $3,000 last year.  Every donation, from $15 to $250, was huge to me.  It meant that those who spend time reading here are not satisfied to watch public need and chat about it with removed fascination.  We do things.  And people can make fun of blogs all they want, but after that day I never gave those slights credence.  You all gave me a confidence that I can never repay.

So let's see if we can do it again.  Donate whatever you feel is appropriate (Link for Fundraising Page).  And when you do, walk around with your shoulders a little higher.  You're a homeless-ending hero-person.


O's take the second Beltway series with a two run home run from Matt Wieters and some stellar pitching from Jake Arrieta.  The entire offense appears to be slumping, but to still pull out a series against the division leading Nat's despite those troubles is comforting.  Teams go through slumps.  They just need to snap out of it before the bottom falls out.  (Yes, I use that analogy a lot with regard to these O's.  My heart can't forgive 2005 and probably won't until they are above .500 in August).

Elkridge residents suggest that they are "Howard County's poor cousin" despite having $33.9 million in projects funded through the most recent County budget.  For as long as I remember paying attention to local issues, Elkridge has been able to use the "no one likes us" mantra to mobilize their residents and accomplish community goals.  There is no "Greater Ellicott City Community Association."  As a big fan of people power, I enjoy watching this and wish them the best of luck going into the future.  Be careful though.  Too much success may encourage the surrounding areas to offer some competition and a bulkanized Howard County is good for no one.

It sure would be frustrating to be a Roscoe Bartlett donor after hearing that he paid $5,000 in fines to the FEC for campaign finance reporting violations

I enjoyed Arthur Hirsch's piece about the Sparrows Point Country Club and the challenges it is facing in raising revenue for what was once a "company town-like" facility.  It reminded me a lot of the private pool debate here in Howard County, especially when the head of the club development committee notes that "If you say 'assess your members'" to pay for construction projects, Mosmiller said, "you might as well shoot yourself. They'll flee."

Featured Blog Post of the Day: While I disagree with his perspective on this, WB has an important post that anyone interested in the future of Columbia should read.  Most importantly, watch the video.  Howard Hughes Senior Vice President gets as close as we've heard anyone say in public that HH may pack up their ball and leave if they don't like how things are going.  I think this is perfectly reasonable in a circumstance of undue interference, but the line has to have an expiration for this partnership to work.  Said otherwise, use it once, use it with emphasis, never use it again.  DeWolf also suggests that there are no other property developers lined up for this opportunity.  If anything, I would think that this kind of admission would put the ball back in the County's court.  I can't tell the County that I'm not paying property taxes because no one wants to buy my house.  Nevertheless, these threats seem effective.  The Council is poised to pass a bill by a 3-2 vote that exempts itself from the County Charter, forecloses community participation, and does not require any real action until we are 500,000 square feet into development.  By that point, Howard Hughes may have some suitors, and their threat to leave will have more teeth.

That's all for today.  Have a great Monday doing what you love.  Thank you for your support.