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Berliner says budget aggression will not stand

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Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner reassured activists and professionals in the Jewish community last week that the County’s proposed budget that includes a 1 percent cut in funding for nonprofits will not stand.

“It just simply can’t stand, and I know my colleagues feel the same way,” Berliner told the 60 participants at the 12th annual Jewish Community Relations Council’s Montgomery County Advocacy Day on April 6.

The reduced funding is proposed to come out of the Department of Health and Human Services Non-Developmental Disabilities Provider Services Contracts budget, which many nonprofits rely on to provide services to County residents.

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Rockville battles budget woes

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ROCKVILLE – Residents and community representatives spoke out Monday night in the last public hearing before the City Council passes the Fiscal Year 2018 budget.

City Manager Robert DiSpirito proposed a $129.4 million operating budget, which would be a 2.5 percent increase from last year’s. DiSpirito proposed to keep the city’s taxes for real property and personal property the same as last year’s.

The city manager said he did not have as much influence over the budget as he would like, given that he started in Rockville long after the city began to craft its budget.

“I’m a Johnny-come-lately on the process, definitely,” said DiSpirito, who started as city manager in January.

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Teen serves others to work through mother's pain

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Kade Friedlander 2Kade Friedlander (right) with one of the kids he helps as a volunteer at NCCF. COURTESY PHOTO  

Kade Friedlander knows his mother Tracy’s pain.

She grew up with a single mother and two siblings in Baltimore, moving home to home and depending on other to eat.

"She really never had a stable home,” Kade said.

It’s why the 14-year-old volunteers every week at National Center for Children and Families (NCCF) on Green Tree Road in Bethesda, where he helps kids who, like his mother, are living home to home.

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Takoma Park finds homes for the homeless

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Takoma Park Govt logo

Takoma Park is working with Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs on a plan to buy two condemned properties and convert them into affordable mixed housing.

Once the county purchases the homes, they will be transferred to Coalition Homes, Inc., an affiliate of Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless (MCCH), which develops housing for homeless and low-income households.

“The county knows that we are a very trusted partner in not only purchasing properties but managing them,” said MCCH executive director Susie Sinclair-Smith.

Sinclair-Smith noted affordable housing in Montgomery County is scarce and the development of cheaper options should be a focus for the county.

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Progress Place expands to help area's homeless

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Progress Place, which provides help and hope to the homeless in Montgomery County, is moving into a larger facility and expanding its services in two weeks.

“There are still many people who are homeless. People still need access to service. People still need the path to independence,” said Shepherd’s Table Executive Director Jacki Coyle.

While the three providers – Shepherd’s Table, Interfaith Works and Mobile Medical Care - remain the same, the facility will soon feature living quarters for 21 homeless people, who will not only have a studio apartment to call their own but also will live in the building that provides them with resources, medical assistance and food.

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Volunteers flock to G-burg to help the homeless

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MPI-0019Two children enjoy balloons and facepainting activities during the Homeless Resource Day at Bohrer Park. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  GAITHERSBURG – Almost 400 Montgomery County residents briefly set aside their concerns about finding housing, jobs and medical care and instead spent the day getting their hair done, receiving flu shots and generally being treated with respect.

The sixth annual Nadim Khan Memorial Homeless Resource Day, held Nov. 17 at Bohrer Park, was dedicated to helping residents who are either homeless or in danger of becoming homeless learn about all the benefits and programs they are entitled to. 

There were 1,100 homeless people in the County in 2015, according to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

The county’s Department of Health and Human Services in 2014 adopted a 10-year plan to end homelessness here.

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County grapples with homeless problems during first heat wave of the year

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As temperatures rise this summer, local community organizations are making an effort to keep the homeless out of the sun for long periods of time.

Rockville spokesperson Marylou Berg said four cooling centers opened on Friday for people who need to step out of the heat.

“When it is 95 degrees or above or when a code red air quality alert is issued, we provide use of four recreation centers and (people) can come for free and they can cool off,” Berg said.

Berg said the cooling centers were at the Lincoln Community Center, the Rockville Senior Center, the Thomas Farm Community Center and the Twinbrook Community Recreation Center.

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Advocate claims millions needed to end homelessness

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Fewer people are experiencing homelessness in Montgomery County compared to 2015, but homeless advocates say it will take millions of more dollars to shelter the hundreds of people who remain without permanent housing.

According to Susie Clair-Smith, the executive director of the Montgomery County Coalition on Homelessness, the Fiscal Year 2017 County budget includes $250,000 for alleviating chronic homelessness.

However, it will take $3,020,000 more to provide permanent housing for the 151 "frequent flyers," or people who are chronically homeless, said Clair-Smith.

"We need much more," she said, describing the chronically homeless population as "the most vulnerable in Montgomery County."

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Local priest honored for homeless work

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The Montgomery County Coalition of the Homeless honored local priest Father John Enzler with the 2016 Distinguished Service Award Thursday night at the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless Gala.

Enzler was awarded for his efforts to veteran homelessness throughout the County by developing the idea of “adopting a veteran” in several communities.

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Homeless aid group enjoys new partnership

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SILVER SPRING – For Donna Robinson, helping homeless women and their children is a calling.

Robinson, who was homeless herself as a young adult and now works as an adjunct instructor at University of Maryland University College, is the founder and executive director of House of Divine Guidance, or HDG, an aid group that provides food, clothing, job training and other services to homeless mothers.

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