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Christ Church Outreach News: February 15, 2024

Bridges to Housing Stability Launches County-Supported Program to Secure Homes for Families of Homeless HCPSS Students

For several years, Christ Church has supported Bridges to Housing Stability in its efforts to help individuals and families who struggle to keep a roof over their heads. Now Bridges has expanded its work in collaboration with Howard County and the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS).

On Feb. 5, Bridges began taking applications for the Family Home Start Program to help HCPSS students and their families. There were 431 students experiencing homelessness at the time Bridges posted its January newsletter describing the new effort. It will provide security deposit guarantees and the first month’s rent, housing search resources, and short-term case management.

Bridges wrote, “In October, we were thrilled to attend the County Executive’s announcement of the Housing Opportunities Meant for Everyone (HOME) package, which includes a $1 million grant for Bridges to rehouse Howard County Public School students and their families experiencing homelessness. Since then, we’ve been hiring program staff and working with the school system and the Department of Housing and Community Development on the partnership and rollout of the program.”

HCPSS determines students are homeless if their families lack “a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.” Examples range from sharing a home to living in a car. Eligible households can earn between 40 and 60 percent of the county's median income.

In “The Ball Bulletin” on Feb. 12, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball said, “This essential program is a commitment from our county to provide not just temporary relief, but a foundation for long-term stability.”

Bridges has a track record of helping county residents achieve stable housing: it prevented 22 evictions, rehoused 68 households, served 468 individuals, and provided 54 affordable rental homes in a recent 12-month period.

To support these wider efforts and to have fun at the same time, mark your calendars. Bridges will hold its Beans & Bags event on Sunday, May 5, from 12:30 to 3 p.m. at Centennial Park, Pavilion H, 4760 Woodland Rd., Ellicott City 21042. Last year, Christ Church was a supporter of the Bridges chili event and cornhole tournament, which was held in March. But we had no team to enter the cornhole competition. Let’s change that in 2024. Start practicing now so that Christ Church can make a showing!

The event raises crucial operating funds. Christ Church has been a supporter of Bridges since participating in a countywide chili cook-off in 2019. At a Chili & Challenge virtual fundraiser in 2020, Christ Church won a Silver Ladle Award. Then, at the 2021 Chili & Challenge, we won gold. The relationship began at the urging of parishioner Jim Collins, who was honored among Bridges’ “Heroes for Housing” in 2022.

“More Than Hope” Event: a Celebration of Local Immigrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers

Our own Howard County is so rich in our diverse cultures and traditions. Join us in especially celebrating those brought to us by immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers during a festive evening of dance, music, food, and brief talks on Sunday, February 25th beginning at 5:00 p.m. at the Owen Brown Interfaith Center. Naimatullah Ahmadzai, an Afghan refugee and the father of one of the families helped by Christ Church's Refugee Ministry, is a featured speaker.


All event proceeds benefit Luminus, the local non-profit group (formerly called FIRN) that helps immigrants and refugees here in Howard County. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. For more information, please see the More Than Hope flier at and come to the Owen Brown Interfaith Center on the 25th - 7246 Cradlerock Way in Columbia.

DreamBuilders Registration for the Triple Blitz Build

Registration is now open for Triple Blitz Build in Hazard, Kentucky, taking place from June 16-22. After a successful trip last summer building two houses for those in need, we are headed back to Hazard, Kentucky this June to make an even bigger impact! If you would like to make a life-long impact on three flood-impacted families, come join us for this week-long trip.  No experience necessary - we’ll teach you everything you need to know, and you’ll have a fun and rewarding experience.  The total cost is $700. and you must have completed 9th grade to join us. Registration is open until March 4th, and we can only take 36 people, so act now! You can register at Questions? Speak with Cathy Gold or Stacey Frith, or email

Columbia Community Care Seeks Baby Care Items, More Volunteers

This week Columbia Community Care (CCC) added paper towels and toilet paper to its list of essentials needed to replenish its pantry. Also please keep collecting diapers, baby wipes, sanitary and personal care items, and adult diapers.

Put any of these in the yellow bin, marked “CCC,” inside the Parish Hall. Drop off items on weekdays when the church office is open or on Sunday. The Christ Church point of contact is Leigh Smith, who monitors the bins and delivers their contents.

Another option is to give of your time and talent. One task is sorting at the pantry building, 10750 Little Patuxent Parkway in Columbia. Go to the “I Can Help” portion of its website or check the CCC Facebook Group for updates.

Please Donate All Kinds of Grocery Non-Perishables and Toiletries to FISH

FISH of Howard County needs non-perishable foods and toiletries. FISH provides committed support to select families in need. Please put donations in the basket at the altar or in the marked yellow bin that, during cold weather, can be found inside the Parish Hall entrance. The neighbors you help give thanks for all you do in their support.

In general, if you have suggestions about ways to help the community, if you want to get involved, or if you need assistance, please email Christ Church Outreach at Your help is greatly welcomed and appreciated. Thank you.


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