Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Come Play the Game of Life, HoCo Style

It takes a lot of people to make our county run.  For a moment, lets consider these folks:  store clerks, janitors, nurses’ aides, child care workers, office cleaners, groundskeepers/landscaping crews, fast food workers, stock personnel, day laborers. We need all of them, and more,  in Howard County.  They are the working poor.  But where do they live?

We all know how expensive it is to live in the #hoco. I don't buy the argument that, "so what, if you can't afford it, don't live here."  These jobs are here, they serve to make this a desirable community, and the folks who are working them often can't afford cars, and options for commuting are limited. So the folks with fewer options are doing jobs that need to be done, and they need to live close to where they work.

What do you do to earn a living?  Do you work in Howard County? Do you need to drive somewhere out of the county to work?  Do area transit options meet your needs, in or out of the county?  How much does your commute cost you? Do the answers to these questions add up to a crisis for you and your family?

If your answer is yes, then you can turn to Bridges to Housing Stability. Jane O'Leary, Executive Director, shared the following information with me:

Bridges is a non-profit anti-homelessness organization that serves Howard County through our Housing Stability Program.  This serves low-income households in three tracks:
·         Prevention – helping households that are at-risk to stay in their homes or move to more affordable housing
·         Re-housing – helping homeless households who are ready to do so, to move into permanent housing, often without entering shelter
·         Temporary Housing – providing housing to homeless families while they work on their goal of achieving permanent housing

However, if your answer to the questions above was no, I'd like to suggest that you buy a ticket for this year's Columbia Home Tour.  (Sunday, June 3, 2012, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.) Their mission: 

The Columbia Home Tour creates a sense of community while celebrating the history of Columbia and the uniqueness of the people who live in this community by showcasing interesting Columbia homes and donating a portion of the event’s profits to a local charity that provides services to Columbia residents.

This year's charity? You guessed it-- Bridges to Housing Stability, which is an active partner in Howard County Plan to End Homelessness.  

It may feel ironic, taking in the beautiful homes of folks who clearly do have housing stability, in order to help those who don't. In fact, it points out that everyone can find their own way to help--those who have beautiful homes can share them for a day. Those of us with more ordinary dwellings can spend $20.00 to enjoy our community and help others.

Participate--share your money and your time to be a part of this community event.  As an added bonus participants are invited to attend a reception at Claret Hall in River Hill between 1 p.m.- 4 p.m. and enjoy displays provided by Columbia Archives and information about Bridges to Housing Stability.

As if that weren't enough incentive, you can see me and some very cool Oakland Mills women as docents in one of this year's homes.  When I'm finished with my shift, I'm going here.



  1. Looking forward to seeing you and showing you around. Which house are you docenting (is that a word) in?

  2. I'll be at the Engelke house in Oakland Mills, with fellow OM Board members. It's a really cool house. Old school with a hip twist. ;-)

  3. If anyone is interested in learning more about the Columbia Home Tour, CA did a video on our Columbia Matters TV show about this year's event! You can check it out here: http://youtu.be/njXC7znjG2c

    -Aria White, Columbia Association

  4. When I heard that a renovated OMhouse was on the tour, I immediately thought of the Engelke's. See you there.


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