Human Services Programs of Carroll County is a CAA. What does that mean?

Having the title of Community Action Agency was part of a nationwide initiative by President Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty in 1964 along with other programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Older Americans Act, and Head Start. HSP garnered the title of CAA when it was incorporated as a nonprofit in 1987. CAAs were created to focus on the underlying causes of poverty within their respective communities.

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What makes CAAs unique is that we have the flexibility to develop programs based on the specific needs of our community while simultaneously engaging the entire community to move people out of poverty. HSP is able to accomplish this lofty goal through the multiple programs within the agency. In addition, HSP partners with other nonprofits, the faith-based community, the business community, all levels of government, and the Carroll County community at large.

Often when the community hears the name HSP, people often think "shelters." While running five of the shelters in the county (Men's, Women's, Intact Family, Safe Haven, and the Cold Weather) is a large and important part of what we do, HSP also runs 15 other programs. Each program falls under one of four different umbrellas.

Shelter and Housing — in addition to shelters — provides support to assist families, individuals and individuals with disabilities get back on their feet to obtain and remain in permanent housing.

Workforce Development assists individuals in job training, resume building and searching for employment. The Workforce team also works with individuals to overcome barriers to employment such as a criminal background or lack of previous experience.

The Family Center provides services that help families develop self sufficiency and effective parenting skills. Child development care is also provided to support the parents while they are learning these valuable skills.

Emergency Services connects individuals with an array of funds throughout the community and the state to assist them with paying utilities and preventing evictions. Emergency Services partners with the Maryland Energy Assistance Programs (MEAP) and the Office of Home Energy Programs (OHEP) of the Department of Human Resources.

Some of the specific programs offered are GED classes, English As A Second Language, a Community Free Store (Second Chances), Computer skills, Rapid Re-Housing, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, a Community Garden, Financial Workshops, the Family Stability Initiative and the list goes on. All of the services provided by HSP are also free to the recipient.

Do you see a pattern here? HSP has developed programs and partnerships to work with individuals and families, no matter where they are, what challenge they are facing, or what their needs are — all in the name of fighting poverty.

To join the fight, give of your time, give of your funds, give of your heart to help those less fortunate. That is what being a CAA is all about! Providing services to the community and engaging people to take a stand and work to end poverty. To connect with HSP, visit our website www.hspinc.org where you can learn more about the organization and sign up for our newsletter, like us on Facebook, or you can simply go old school and give us a call at 410-857-2999.

Let's work together to end poverty in Carroll County!

Angela Gustus is the executive director of Human Services Programs of Carroll County. Reach her at agustus@hspinc.org.

Nonprofit View

Each Monday, the Carroll County Times will publish a column from a local nonprofit, allowing it to share information about its organization and the issues facing it. To be considered, email cctnews@carrollcountytimes.com with the subject line "Nonprofit View."

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