From the Harford Community Action Agency:
Harford Community Action Agency (HCAA) is the designated Community Action Agency providing programs and services to address the needs of low-income individuals, families, and communities in Harford County. HCAA provides food, energy assistance, homeless prevention and self-sufficiency programs to needy families throughout the County.
In the face of anticipated federal budget cuts to the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG), the agency’s core source of funding, effective immediately, HCAA has announced that the organization’s staff will go to a four day work week. According to Judy Mason, agency executive director, “This twenty percent reduction in staff hours is a direct result of the cuts we are anticipating to the CSBG.”
The CSBG could be cut by up to 45%, meaning a shortfall of as much as $120,000 through September 30, which represents a significant portion of HCAA’s operating budget. Congress will finalize the current year federal budget as early as April 8, though it could take longer.
Even though the federal budget is still in flux, HCAA does not have funds in reserve to use while waiting for Congress to make its final decision on how much money the Community Action Agencies will receive. “The agency’s Board of Directors and I take our fiscal responsibility very seriously,” Mason said, “so we’re acting now to make cuts that we hope will be temporary.”
HCAA offices will now be completely closed on Fridays. “We are making the cuts that we feel will have the least impact on the needy Harford County citizens that come to us for services,” explains Mike Gribbin, President of the agency’s volunteer Board of Directors. “This was certainly not an easy decision, given the growing demand for our services in this economy.”
The agency sees a minimal number of clients on Fridays for food, financial counseling and emergency assistance. “Staff use Fridays to process client financial assistance paperwork, clean and restock the food pantry, enter client service data into reporting systems and perform other key tasks related to agency operations,” says Mason. “We’ll have to figure out how we continue to get everything done with one less day a week.”
In 2010, HCAA provided safety net services and self-sufficiency programs to more than 7,000 needy families in Harford County. HCAA’s programs:
• Helped 5,452 families stay warm in winter
• Made electricity more affordable for 5,307 families
• Kept the lights turned on for 1,350 families
• Provided 358,426 lbs. of food to 2,851 hungry families
• Distributed 136,771 lbs. of food to 70 other faith and community organizations that feed hungry people
• Kept 601 households from becoming homeless
• Helped provide 12,776 nourishing summer meals for kids
• Provided education and job skills training to 49 adult learners
• Helped 105 at-risk families learn to better manage their money
• Prepared and filed 151 returns for low-income taxpayers
Harford Community Action Agency is a nonprofit organization that is tax-exempt under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. A copy of the agency’s current financial statement is available upon request by contacting Harford Community Action Agency at 1321B Woodbridge Station Way, Edgewood, Maryland 21040 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
To make a donation to help HCAA make up the loss in federal funds and continue to provide its critical services to needy Harford County families, please make your check payable to Harford Community Action Agency and send it to the address above.
For questions, contact HCAA at 410-612-9909, x 2207 or email@example.com.