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"A Long Term Commitment" Needed in Baltimore County To Help People Still Struggling In COVID Pandemic

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Shanaysha Sauls, the president and CEO of the Baltimore Community Foundation joined Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski at a news conference in Towson. Credit: John Lee

Baltimore County announced Wednesday it’s spreading more than $2.4 million dollars in state money among more than 50 community organizations that continue working the front-line of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the recipients, the Family Crisis Center of Baltimore County, helps families in the throes of domestic violence. Amy Post, the center’s executive director said they are anticipating a significant increase in requests for help as eviction prevention programs end and affordable housing and childcare remain elusive.

“We want to kind of take a deep breath and say, ‘we’re through this,’ and I think unfortunately the impacts of 18 to 24 months of crisis are going to have long term tailwinds,” Post said. “We need to be prepared that this is a long-term commitment to families who have most suffered.”

Other organizations getting some of the money do things such as stock food pantries, run vaccine clinics and provide financial counseling.

“Their work has been herculean,” said Shanaysha Sauls, president and CEO of the Baltimore Community Foundation. “(Wednesday’s) announcement spotlights the important work being done by so many of the organizations who have their boots on the ground, day in and day out, to meet the evolving needs of our communities.”

The Student Support Network, which provides food to poor Baltimore County students, is receiving a share of the grant money. Its president, Laurie Taylor-Mitchell, said there are 59,000 county students living in severe poverty, a 10 percent increase from the previous year.

“Not only is it not ending, going back to some normal, it’s even worse than it was,” Taylor-Mitchell said.

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced the grant money for community organizations at a news conference Wednesday in Towson. He said during the pandemic, people have stepped up to help neighbors in need.

“This has been especially true of Baltimore County’s nonprofit community,” Olszewski said.

John Lee is a reporter for WYPR covering Baltimore County.