Committee: Senate Budget & Taxation Committee
The Maryland Catholic Conference (“Conference”) offers this testimony in support of Senate Bill 810. The Conference represents the public policy interests of the three Roman Catholic (arch)dioceses serving Maryland: the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Diocese of Wilmington, which together encompass over one million Marylanders.
Senate Bill 810 would provide certain grants for rapid or permanent housing voucher funds to counties for use to house homeless veterans and survivors of domestic violence, adding supplemental funding for fiscal year 2020 and each fiscal year thereafter.
The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) must administer the program, establish procedures for grant applications, and adopt and implement regulations; which allow for the success and standardization as the majority of State-funded homeless service grants are managed by DHCH. The Maryland Interagency Council on Homelessness Point-in-Time count for 2017 reported that there were 536 homeless veterans and 800 homeless survivors of domestic violence in Maryland. Supplemental grant funding proposed in Senate Bill 810 addresses a critical need for some of Maryland’s most vulnerable citizens at a time where they need it the most.
Safe housing for those that may have experienced traumatic events is the first step to building stability for those facing homelessness; such as the combat veteran returning home from an active deployment or the domestic violence survivor that leaves the residence of their abuser. Without the basic needs of an individual met, one cannot thrive and achieve their full potential.
The Local Housing Grant Program for Homeless Veterans and Survivors of Domestic Violence provides an improved quality of life, increased self-confidence and independence, opportunities for socialization, and a decreased reliance on institutional care by meeting a basic need. It is for these reasons that the Conference asks for a favorable report of Senate Bill 810. Thank you for your consideration.