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Columbia Inspired

United Way Impact in Howard County

Jan 09, 2022 04:18PM ● By Angela Davids

An astonishing 28 percent of Howard County families struggle to pay for everyday expenses like housing, transportation, food and utilities, according to a report by the United Way of Central Maryland. One of the most significant financial burdens, they say, is childcare, where Howard County families spend about 20 percent of their income. Parents desperately need childcare they can afford. The new United Way Family Center in Columbia will finally make that possible.

Set to open in March 2022, the newly constructed center and playground will provide affordable childcare, early education and healthy meals for 76 children ages 8 weeks through 4 years. With affordable and reliable childcare from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm each day, parents can seek full-time employment and pursue higher education, which will improve financial stability.

The center’s influence on the community will echo beyond the children. It will create 29 new jobs with competitive salaries and benefits. Some positions will focus on childcare and education, while other positions will connect people of all ages to resources related to housing, utilities, medical care, employment and other aspects that will improve the lives of Howard County families.

Interested families can go to the Family Center in Columbia  to learn more and apply. Donations of toys, baby care items and ongoing supply needs can be made through the Family Center’s Amazon Gift Registry .

Eviction Prevention Program

The United Way of Central Maryland has developed programs focusing on health, employment, education and housing for more than 90 years. The current pandemic has led to countless families and individuals being unable to pay their rent. The United Way of Central Maryland is stepping in to support residents of specific areas, including certain zip codes in Columbia and Laurel. They will coordinate with county and city governments and landlords to pay up to 12 months of back rent for qualified residents, using $43 million from the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). Some residents may also be eligible for an additional three months of assistance for upcoming rent. Click here to learn about who can qualify.

Help for Anyone in Need

You don’t have to be a parent or renter to benefit from United Way resources. With the 211 Maryland United Way Helpline, residents can talk to a specialist confidentially to learn how to get assistance for financial hurdles and healthcare needs. Call 211 or (800) 492-0618 if you need:

·         Food, shelter or emergency housing

·         Utility or rent assistance

·         Eviction prevention services

·         Job training and job search assistance

·         Assistance with medical and prescription costs

·         Family services and counseling

·         Suicide prevention and crisis services

Make a Difference at the Holidays and Year-Round

Do you know someone in need of the services above or affordable childcare? Talk to them about the United Way of Central Maryland. Would you like to make a financial contribution? Donate here or to the Columbia Family Center here. Ready to volunteer? Look for opportunities here

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