April 2021

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Grassroots Distributes Rent and Utility Relief Funds
Grassroots is distributing $1 million in Howard County COVID-19 Relief funds funds to help residents pay past due utility bills and rent payments to prevent eviction. The U.S. Treasury is providing the rent relief and utility assistance funding.

In the two weeks since Grassroots partnered with the county to process applications and award the relief funds, it has distributed $257,000 toward rental and utility assistance, helping 44 families catch up and avoid homelessness. In addition, several families identified through the application process have agreed to work with the Family Stability Program to help them stay caught up and obtain long-term housing stability, according to Tina Field, Director of Homeless Services.

The United Way of Central Maryland earlier selected Grassroots to receive a Family Stability Program grant to provide case management to families at risk to regain self-sufficiency so they can stay in their homes and so that their children can avoid a disruptive school transfer.

“Rental assistance is a humane and effective way of stemming the avalanche of miseries that are affecting families in Howard County because of the pandemic,” said Executive Director Dr. Mariana Izraelson.  “Intervention is necessary to stabilize financially strapped families until the parents return to work and can get on their feet again.”

“With money from the county for rental assistance last year, Grassroots was able to help 93 struggling families maintain their own homes for their children and themselves.  With this grant Grassroots will be able to prevent more families from falling into homelessness, and we are grateful to Howard County Government for providing this financial assistance,” Izraelson added.

For more information, click here.
LGBTQ+ Community Provided Safe Space
More Trainers Needed to Support Program
Grassroots is seeking applicants for Safe Space,” its training and certification program to learn how to provide a supportive environment for LGBTQ+ individuals. The program helps attendees become more culturally competent in providing services and dealing with issues specific to the LGBTQ+ population. Since 2017, over 200 people have been “Safe Space” trained by Grassroots, which designed the comprehensive program.

Through participation and completion of the “Safe Space” program, service providers, agencies and community members have the opportunity to:
  • Increase their knowledge and skills to work with LGBTQ+ individuals and their families
  • Increase cultural humility when talking to and about LGBTQ+ individuals
  • Become confident in connecting LGBTQ+ individuals and their families to appropriate services and resources
  • Recognize risk factors to suicide, employ active listening skills to a person-at-risk, and connect with appropriate resources for ongoing safety
  • Understand importance of LGBTQ+ inclusivity in language within conversations, policies, procedures and paperwork
  • Recognize changes that can be made in their own agencies to be more inclusive and welcoming to LGBTQ+ population
  • Become Grassroots “Safe Space” certified
Click here to view a seventeen-minute discussion on the "Safe Space" program. In the video, Tina Field, Director of Homeless Services, Maggie McCleary, therapist, and Katie Dant, Assistant Director of Crisis and Substance Use services, talk about the suicide prevention and intervention model that focuses on the LGBTQ+ population and the increased risk for suicide.

At this time, “Safe Space” is providing a 4.5-hour virtual training for certification. The training is without fee due to funding from The Horizon Foundation of Howard County. Applications close May 30, 2021. For more information contact Katie Dant,
Opioid Related Deaths Increase in 2020
Howard County saw a 43% increase in opioid related deaths in 2020, compared to 2019, part of a national and statewide trend as the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated opioid and substance misuse, according to information provided by Howard County Executive Calvin Ball.  

“Our community, like others, is suffering from the compounding of the coronavirus pandemic and the opioid epidemic, but there is hope,” said Grassroots Executive Director Dr. Mariana Izraelson.  “Howard County agencies are working together to save lives and restore the stability of families. Anyone that is experiencing a substance use disorder crisis is able to call the Grassroots 24-hour
hotline, 410-531-6677, or walk in 24/7 and work with a multidisciplinary team.  Grassroots offers screening, assessment, brief intervention, counseling, nursing assessment, medical evaluation, medication assisted therapy with buprenophine and referral to treatment.”
In The News
DRC Open on Thursday The Grassroots Day Resource Center at 10390 Guilford Road in Jessup, is now open on Thursdays, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., by appointment. Help will be available for food stamps, health insurance, ID documents, job and resume assistance, COVID-19 vaccine pre-registration, unemployment, and other assistance. A Substance Use Disorder peer counselor will be onsite. Call 301-776-9900 to make an appointment.
On Board Grassroots Executive Director Dr. Mariana Izraelson has been appointed by the Howard County Executive to the Board to Promote Self-Sufficiency, a planning and coordinating body for initiatives that promote the economic stability of individuals and families and reduce the incidence of poverty in Howard County.
On Zoom Grassroots Executive Director Dr. Mariana Izraelson, recently honored as a Women’s Giving Circle (S)hero, will be featured in an on-line coffee chat with the other four honorees on Wed., April 14, 8:30 a.m.  Register for the free event here.
New Manager John Bjork has been hired to replace retiring Marcia Reichert as Grassroots HR, Business & Finance Manager of Crisis Services.
Virtual Run The Matzohball 5k and Howard County Family Wellness Day is set for Sunday, June 6.  Both the virtual Matzohball 5K and 1 Mile run/walk are offered at no cost to participants. Temple Isaiah will be giving 100% of all donations made through the sign-up registration process to Grassroots, Dream Builders and Hope Works.  Participants can walk or run their own personal 5K or 1 mile course anywhere, starting with the 9 a.m. official start on Sunday, June 6 right up through the following Sunday, June 13. Register here.
Are You a Friend of Grassroots?
Are you a donor to Grassroots? Have you made a gift this year? Grassroots depends upon the generosity of individuals, organizations and businesses in the community to support its free services to people in crisis, to help provide the 24-7 hotline and suicide prevention efforts, round-the-clock personal counseling, Mobile Crisis Team, the shelter programs and other activities to help people achieve a positive resolution to their crisis situation. Please make a gift to Grassroots today. Any size gift is welcome. If you can afford $50 or more per month, consider joining The Friends of Grassroots who donate $600 or more per year. Thank you for your support.
Copyright © 2021 Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center, All rights reserved.

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