Beginning today, about 50 disabled adults in Carroll who were receiving monthly cash from a state program that ended Friday can apply for financial help from local social service providers.
The county's Department of Social Services and the nonprofit Human Services Programs Inc. are working together to assist county residents who won't receive $157 monthly payments through the Disability Assistance Loan Program.
During this year's General Assembly session, Gov. Parris N. Glendening eliminated the $35 million DALP program, which provided cash payments to 21,000 disabled Marylanders.
Advocates for the poor have warned that the cuts will lead to more homelessness, petty crime and emergency health care.
To help soften the blow, all jurisdictions throughout the state may apply for grant money to assist DALP recipients with housing costs.
M. Alexander Jones, the county's director of social services, said that Carroll is eligible for $22,203, far less than the $90,000 disabled county residents had received in DALP payments.
Only 12 people now receiving DALP payments will qualify for a portion of the $22,000 grant, Mr. Jones said. The Department of Social Services will use the money to provide the disabled adults with a maximum of $150 a month in housing vouchers.
Human Services Programs Inc. will work with churches and other nonprofit agencies to help the remaining 40 former DALP recipients.
Mr. Jones said the elimination of DALP will place more of a burden on private, nonprofit agencies.
"We often hear people say, 'Let's see what the private sector can do,' " he said. "But most churches and private agencies are not set up to meet monthly needs. They usually deal with one-time-only needs."
Former DALP recipients may apply at the Department of Social Services office to determine if they're eligible for rental assistance or other aid.
To qualify, individuals must have a disability that prevents them from working from three to 12 months, a weekly income of no more than $36, and no liquid assets.
Using a priority system, officials at Human Services Programs Inc. will determine which 12 individuals are eligible for housing vouchers. People with life-threatening illnesses who are living alone or who have no nearby family members receive top priority.
For instance, Mr. Jones said he knew of a 58-year-old former DALP recipient with heart disease and emphysema who would probably qualify for aid.
Individuals with life-threatening illnesses living with friends receive second priority, followed by others with nonlife-threatening illnesses.