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Howard County Maryland assistance programs.

Emergency financial help is for low income families in Howard County. Locate rent or energy bill help from charities, free food or clothes from churches, and government cash assistance or grant programs. The resources in the Columbia Maryland region, when combined with free gasoline vouchers, affordable medical care, and other financial aid go to help the low income and poor pay their bills and make it through a hardship.

Low income households and the working poor may also find free stuff. There are charities in Columbia that pass out free back to school supplies or furniture banks. Community clinics offer insulin assistance programs and adult or child health care, and there are free clothes as well as Christmas toys in Howard County. Many resources are below.

Help with prescription drugs and free health care.

A health care program known as the Healthy Howard Health Plan is offering residents high quality, low priced medical care and even free prescription medicines. It covers the uninsured, and it may be a model for a federal government health plan. Phone 410-988-3737.

Since the health care program started, Howard County has assisted thousands of people across the county and in Columbia with signing up for federal and/or state assistance programs, and they provided discounted health care for hundreds of others across the county. It provides health care to those who can't afford to pay for their health insurance but make too much to qualify for Medicaid or other federal programs.

For example, for a family of four to qualify for this aid, a family's household income needs to be somewhere between $32,000 - $66,000 a year. While it is not insurance, but the health care plan does provide for emergency services and inpatient care through the Howard county general hospital, six primary care visits and they also receive access to a network of specialists.

It turns out that many who initially applied for this plan did in fact qualify for state or federal programs but didn't know they did. The county then proceeded to help get them sign up for those assistance programs and then eventually ended up with about 400 members in the county's program. Members of the Healthy Howard Health Plan pay $50-$85 a month for their coverage, depending on their income. However, even at that price some still have trouble paying for the coverage. Click here for help with prescriptions.




While the program does have many benefits, one of the key components of Howard County's program is preventative care. For example, every person must agree to personal health coaching to improve their health, thus preventing the need for more costly medical care at a later date. The program does have its limits. It does not provide care outside the area say if you're traveling and get sick, so coverage is only limited to the county.

Assistance from Community Action Council of Howard County, Maryland, Inc.

This non-profit organization offers low income, the elderly, unemployed, and other struggling Columbia and Howard county residents with numerous services and assistance programs. Below you will find some examples of the services and resources that they offer individuals and families. Call (410) 313-6479.

  • First Month’s Rent - This program helps with paying the first month’s rent, in advance, when an individual is moving into a new home or apartment.
  • Eviction Prevention funds will assist people with paying past due rent. Eligibility for the rent program is based on an applicants total household income and the applicant also needs evidence of crisis such as a judgment of restitution or eviction notice.
  • Rent assistance - A rental assistance program known as One Month’s Rent Initiative is offered by a private community organization which partners with CAC to assist clients with paying past due rent.
  • Food bank and pantry - This program provides emergency food grants, groceries, and other products to families to ensure that both families and individuals families have adequate nutritious food.
  • Debt, budgeting, and saving - The Community Action Council of Howard County helps clients increase financial knowledge, build emergency savings, pay down debts, and more. Whether help with credit card or medical bills, or tips on saving money, assistance is offered.





  • Electric and heating bills - The agency offers a total of five different programs that provide people with help for heating, energy, electric, gas, and overall utility bills. The various options and programs include the Maryland Energy Assistance Program (MEAP), Crisis Intervention Initiative (CII), Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), Fuel Fund, and the Electric Universal Services Program (EUSP).
  • General emergency assistance for rent, energy bills, mortgage, foreclosure, and other expenses - An option known as Emergency Assistance to Families with Children (EAFC) provides general help and assistance to individuals and families to help them deal with an emergency need as a result of lack of heating fuel, heating oil, mortgage payments, avoid utility disconnections, or utilities or threat of imminent utility cutoff, prevent an eviction or foreclosure, or funds to deal with a disaster. Learn more on Maryland mortgage programs.

To learn more on the resources administered by non-profit, dial (410) 313-6479.

Financial assistance programs

FISH of Howard County, which is based in Ellicott City Maryland (phone (410) 964-8660), provides utility and heating bill assistance, prescription medication vouchers, emergency food and groceries, and eviction prevention subsidies/rent help.

Grassroots Crisis Intervention, Inc. runs the federal government funded Homeless Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program. This program can offer financial assistance for eviction prevention, rental assistance and security deposits to qualified individuals. (410) 531-6006 Columbia, Maryland based.

Interfaith Coalition for Compassion ((410) 997-2781) is a non-profit agency that provides cash grants and financial assistance to help prevent evictions, funds to help pay rent and termination of utility services. The agency will even occasional assist with prescription drugs.

Columbia Maryland based Salvation Army of Howard County (phone (443) 656-3376) runs a free food pantry on site and offers financial assistance for paying rent as well as heating and energy bills. The Columbia Maryland center may also offer prescription medications and runs a holiday program, including Thanksgiving meals.

Other support from the Salvation Army includes a free furniture bank as well as Christmas money, gifts, or toys for kids. There is also a homeless shelter as well as back to school supplies as well as backpacks, or summer camps for students. Continue with Salvation Army in Howard County programs.

Jewish Federation of Howard County – As a last resort, the center offers financial assistance for bills and living needs. This is offered from the Emergency Network to those associated with the Howard County Jewish community. Another program provides scholarships for people to attend religious schools. 10630 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia Maryland, 21044, phone 410-730-4976.

St. Vincent de Paul of Howard County administers many social services and financial aid programs for the poor and low income. Utility assistance may be offered as long as the MEAP and Fuel Fund can't meet your needs. Other programs can provide food, meals, and rent/housing assistance. Also get referrals and services such as job search assistance. Telephone – 410-659-4020.

New Life Mennonite Church food and grocery gift cards. Provides some limited cash for qualified low income residents with BGE turn-off notices. There is also details on applying for BGE assistance programs. Address is 9580 Old Route 108, Ellicott City Maryland 21042. Call 410-489-9735.





Church of the Resurrection offers qualified low income families emergency financial assistance. It can help pay rent, heating or utility bills, runs a food pantry and offers other aid for expenses to low income persons needing help with resolving eviction notices and utility cut-offs. Address is 3175 Paulskirk Drive, Ellicott City Maryland, dial 410-645-4018 for intake.

Christian Services of Howard County, Inc. is a non-profit that offers a thrift shop selling new or gently used clothing, furniture, and small household items. The money raised will be used to help Howard County individuals pay their rent or energy bills. 3267 Pine Orchard Lane, Ellicott City MD 21043, 410-465-1060.

Columbia and countywide free Thanksgiving and Christmas help is offered from charities, churches, and non-profits. These are generally free programs for the low income as well as struggling families. Senior citizens as well as single moms also generally qualify as well. Get everything from free Christmas toys to gifts, games, food baskets, and much more. Continue with free holiday and Christmas assistance in Howard County.

Resources for paying rent are available throughout the county. Whether it is a grant for a security deposit or zero percent loan for a portion of any back rent, agencies in Howard County can assist. They combine financial aid with temporary housing and placement into low income apartments. Click here rent assistance in Columbia and Howard County.

Food pantries, banks, and distribution centers

Several free food pantries are open and available. There is free food or summer snacks for kids during the summer months, weekend food boxes, resources for single moms or the low income in Howard County and more. Even the homebound can get help from Meals on Wheels home delivery programs.

Elkridge Love Mission runs a food pantry and provides both Christmas and Thanksgiving meals and gifts. Call (410) 693-0058.

Howard County Food Bank offers emergency and federal governmental surplus food to persons in need on help. (410) 313-6440

Faith Community Baptist Church in Silver Spring (dial 301-460-8188) offers basic needs such as boxes of food, clothing, Christmas assistance, and groceries.

Several other food banks operate in the region. They can support seniors, unemployed, the poor, and low income. Many Columbia Maryland locations also have soup kitchens. Read free food pantries Howard County Maryland.

In general, many people from the Howard County community turn to distribution centers, churches and non-profit pantries for help. They can be a great resource for people that are struggling. Find more information on lists of food banks and how they can provide free groceries and even information on government programs.

Howard County Maryland Health Care

Howard County Health Dept., Columbia Health Center (Main Clinic) offers medical care on a sliding fee scale. The county clinic offers general medical services and health screenings, medical care, as well as maternity services, WIC, prescriptions, family planning and the MCHIP program to eligible Howard County and Maryland residents. Dial (410) 313-7500, or locate Maryland free dental centers.





Foreclosure counseling and housing assistance

If you are behind on paying your mortgage or facing a foreclosure, contact Legal Aid Bureau - Howard County. Get free legal help and advice with the following issues including family and domestic; consumer debt; landlord/tenant; evictions, bankruptcy filings; welfare problems, and Social Security issues. Will provide free mortgage foreclosure counseling and representation with lenders and banks. Phone (410) 480-1057.

By Jon McNamara

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