Md. granted $25 million for homeless aid efforts


WASHINGTON -- Maryland will receive $25 million for its homeless assistance programs, including more than $14 million for Baltimore, in one of the largest grants awarded to a state yesterday by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In addition to the money for Baltimore, Westminster will receive about $1.1 million, and Columbia will get about $426,000.

"This $25 million grant will enable Maryland to provide transitional housing, more services to help people gain economic self-sufficiency and more support for those who are most vulnerable," Gov. Parris N. Glendening said.

At a news conference, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry G. Cisneros singled out Maryland, which received one of the 10 largest grants from a total of about $900 million awarded nationwide yesterday, for its innovative programs.

Mr. Cisneros noted that Maryland is the only state with a comprehensive plan -- linking all government and private homeless agencies -- that concentrates entirely on the homeless.

Of the $14.4 million awarded to Baltimore, $8.5 million will be used to provide rental assistance to 246 permanently disabled homeless people, said Joanne Selinske, director of the Mayor's Office of Homeless Services.

The remaining $5.9 million will be distributed among nonprofit agencies in Baltimore to accommodate 300 more people each day in transitional shelters. "That will help us expand our capacity by 25 percent, so it's really very significant," Ms. Selinske said.

The grant also will allow the the state and Baltimore to fund drug and alcohol abuse centers and mental health clinics.

Last year, Baltimore shelters helped about 18,000 homeless. Groups in the city that will receive funding include the YWCA, the House of Ruth and Associated Catholic Charities.

The House of Ruth, a shelter for battered women, plans to use its $297,000 grant to establish a housing program in which TTC women can stay for up to four months, said the agency's executive director, Carole Alexander.

"Unless we have that time to work intensely with the women, it's likely that the cycle of violence will be repeated," she said. "This will enable us to enhance the odds that the women will actually achieve self-sufficiency."

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