By pledging $20,000 in funds to the Human Services Program, the Carroll County commissioners have ensured that two shelters for homeless families in Westminster will remain open. Without that 11th hour-contribution, HSP might have been forced to close its family shelters. The commissioners realized the gravity of the situation, found the money in their 1994 budget and solved the problem -- at least until next year.
We commend the commissioners -- along with groups and private individuals who have made recent donations -- for their responsiveness.
That said, there is no reason for the non-profit HSP to endure this crisis yearly. In divvying up federal emergency assistance last year, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community LTC Development asked the counties for proposals on how they would spend the money. Carroll's was ranked the best, but Gov. William Donald Schaefer decided against funding the grant. He wanted to punish Carroll's legislative delegation for not supporting him in the 1992 General Assembly session.
This year, instead of asking for new proposals, the state decided to award the same counties that received money last year. So, for the second year in a row, Carroll has been denied federal support to aid homeless families. What started as a political slap on the wrist has become an unwarranted assault against Carroll's most vulnerable citizens.
The commissioners and the delegation should work to see that HSP and its clients don't get short-changed again.
SHIFTING STORM: Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, R-6th, apparently swallowed his ideological objections and has asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency for money to pay for the snow removal in Allegany and Garrett counties. After the Blizzard of '93 battered much of the state, Mr. Bartlett declined to sign a letter from the Maryland congressional delegation to President Clinton requesting emergency assistance, explaining he didn't feel the U.S. government should pay for local snow removal. We're pleased to see that he has since decided that the unprecedented use of federal dollars to supplement snow removal funds is appropriate in this severe case.