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Financial assistance from Community Assistance Network programs.

The regional community action agency, known as CAN, works closely with non-profits and other agencies to help low income and working poor families. They also partner with Baltimore County Department of Social Services as well as agencies in the city. The type of resources available can help with addressing hunger, assist with rental payments as well as homeless prevention. Various other services are also administered by Community Assistance Network.

Help for rental costs and housing expenses

Rental payment assistance is offered in Baltimore by CAN. It is for those who are income-eligible. Applicants must meet the federal government poverty guidelines and also be able to show a current eviction notice from their landlord and the courts.

Homeless shelters serve hundreds of women, men, single parents and children. The main locations can be obtaned from the agency. A referral from the Baltimore County Department of Social Services Screening Unit is required prior to admittance to shelters hosted by CAN. Call 410-853-3000. They are also part of transitional housing near you, which is another wide ranging resources.

The Eastside Emergency Shelter, provides free food, lodging, and daily programming for single parents and their children, families and single women. Another option is the CAN Westside Men’s Shelter. This is also an emergency shelter, but it is specifically designated as a men’s facility. It provides guests with free food, shelter, and case management services.

CAN will try to provide free transportation for those who need the services of a shelter, but lack the means to get there. The program supplies those who qualify with free bus tokens provided through DSS, the Police Department, or the shelter sites. As a last resort, rides may be provided by on-duty police officers. Community Assistance Network also run a daily shuttle to and from the Men’s Westside Shelter.

CAN food and free holiday assistance

Community Assistance Network provides monthly emergency food to income-eligible Baltimore County residents through its Food Package Program. The purpose is to provide anywhere up to seven days worth of pre-boxed or pre-bagged food. Over 1000 families benefit from this per month. This is to be used as a supplement to the existing supply in each household.




Thanksgiving and Christmas assistance is offered too. As the holidays get closer, volunteers from the Baltimore Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association or local charities assist with assembling additional Holiday Food boxes or preparing meals.

Energy and heating bill programs from Community Assistance Network

Baltimore Gas and Electric and CAN have worked together to provide utility assistance to low-income residents who struggle with paying high heating bills. The Fuel Fund of Baltimore County has served thousands of households across the area and the city. Many have used grants to help with avoiding utility shut-offs, both in the winter and in the summer.

To be eligible, applicants must meet the Baltimore County Fuel Fund Guidelines and qualify for the Electric Universal Service Program (EUSP) as well as Maryland Energy Assistance Program. A referral from MEAP is required at the time of application.

Weatherization is offered. CAN collaborates with the Maryland Department of Human Resources, BGE, the Baltimore County Office of Community Conservation, the Department of Housing and Community Development, and the U.S. Department of Energy to deliver free weatherization services to low-income Baltimore County residents.

Under the auspices of WAP, CAN assists hundreds of households each year. The goal of the conservation program is to lower energy bills for low-income households by improving the energy efficiency of their homes. An added bonus of this government program is that making such alterations enhances the safety, health, and well-being of the home’s occupants.

All work on a residence is done by professionally trained weatherization crews, based on home energy audits completed. Once the Community Assistance Network certified contractor determines what changes are required, the crews install extra insulation, seal off air leaks, and make any other needed modifications to replace existing heating, furnaces and cooling systems. Once installed, these energy-saving measures help to reduce utility bills in the future.





The federal program is one of the most effective ways for people to save money on their annual heating bills. Using this resource, the Community Assistance Network can show Baltimore families how to save thousands of dollars per year. Find additional information on the weatherization assistance program and learn how it can assist a family living in poverty.

Guidance from education and financial literacy

Managing money, reducing debts and budgeting can be a daunting task. CAN’s Financial Literacy Program and Budget Counseling Program training courses are designed to increase participants’ knowledge in regard to the subjects of cash flow, money management, and improving credit scores. It will show clients how to reduce debts.

Those who attend these workshops will come away with a basic understanding of managing money, paying down debts, prioritizing necessities, and making critical financial decisions. Being educated and informed helps ease financial stress, and enables clients to perform a budget review and find areas that are problematic. Families from Baltimore can then take steps to correct the issues, using the knowledge gained from the CAN programs.

The agencies After School Program, located at the Fontana Village Community Center, provides tutoring and homework assistance to children. Teachers and case managers work in partnership with a number of youth or teenage groups to provide support and teach responsible decision making. There is the goal of assisting parents in working with their children toward success in school and in life.

CAN locations in Baltimore

The locations are as follows. Assistance, referrals and other resources are available at each office. Call for more information. The main intake office is at 7900 E. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21224, dial (410) 285-4674.

  • Rosedale is covered by the Fontana Village Community Center, 20 Serpens Ct., Baltimore, MD 21237. Call 410-285-4674
  • Arbutus CAN office is at 4000 Southwestern Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21229. Call 410-285-4674
  • Randallstown region - Liberty family Resource Center, 3525 Resource Drive, 21133, (410) 285-4674
  • Lansdowne Riverview Outreach Center is located at 2903 Bero Road, 21227. Phone (410) 285-3837.
  • Fontana Village Community Center, 20 Serpens Courts, MD, 21237, (410) 285-4674
  • Hillendale Gate, 6600 Wycombe Way, Maryland zip code is 21234. Phone - (410) 285-4674
  • Essex 958 Ashbridge Dr., Essex, MD 21221. Call 410-835-3824


By Jon McNamara














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