As Grants Decrease, Outreach Groups Seek Increase in Private Funding

Nearly a half-century after being born out of President Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty,” groups like the Anne Arundel County Community Action Agency are turning to fundraisers and business partnerships to help offset a decline in grants “amid record need,” the Baltimore Sun reported on December 26, 2011. Anne Arundel runs six Head Start centers and offers programs for first-time home buyers, energy assistance and youth outreach in addition to foreclosure help.

According to the Sun, Anne Arundel is one of 17 members of the Maryland Community Action Partnership, part of a nationwide network of more than 1,000 similar community outreach agencies. A. Antonio Coffield, Sr., executive director of the Community Assistance Network Inc., which operates three homeless shelters across Baltimore County in addition to a food pantry, told the Sun that the agency has seen an influx of residents seeking assistance.

“We’ve been bombarded because of the economy and the strain it’s having on individual families,” Coffield told the Sun. “And we’re seeing middle class families — for the first time, they’re experiencing financial challenges.”

The Sun reported that Anne Arundel served about 3,400 people in 2005, but has tripled to more than 10,000 since then. This story further indicates how the economic struggles are taking a toll not just on families living below the poverty line, but also the thin ice that middle class households are on as well. As Bita Dayhoff, executive director of the Community Action Network of Howard County, told the Sun, “If a family’s income is not sufficient enough to build a savings, any small incident like a sick child is really going to throw the financial picture of that family in the negative.”

A Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy process could help keep you and your family in your home as well as allow you to create and maintain a plan to resolve your debts. Have your family’s finances been thrown into chaos because of one unfortunate circumstance like a job loss or a hospital visit? Have you attempted to use a community outreach program for help? What was your experience like?

Law Firm of Kevin D. Judd – Maryland bankruptcy attorney

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