In these challenging times, sometimes we feel apart, but we are not alone. In many ways, we remain connected. And it is that community connection that is helping so many families we serve make it during these challenges.
Our educators are staying connected with their young students, as we make plans to provide them with some version of a graduation celebration and develop innovative summer programming. We are collaborating with neighborhood partners to help small businesses weather the COVID financial storm, and are setting up partnerships to be sure that our residents are getting access to essentials, including food and protective masks.
While we may be apart, we still are here for each other. The good news stories in this enewsletter make that very clear.
You are a part of that good news. Thank you to all who have donated to support MHP's Resident Emergency Fund, including those who donated on Giving Tuesday Now, a special day of giving.
As always, we are touched by your support, which makes so many things possible no matter what the challenges are. Stay safe and healthy!
Robert A. Goldman
We mourn the passing of Odessa Shannon. She was an MHP founding board member, serving from 1989-1996. MHP President Robert A. Goldman said, “Odessa was a passionate advocate for affordable housing and a positive force for change in Montgomery County.” She was a pioneer in Montgomery County as the first African American woman elected to the Montgomery County Board of Education.
Ms. Shannon served as a special assistant to Montgomery County Executive Charles Gilchrist. From 1995 to 2008, she was the executive director of the County Human Rights Commission. She also founded the County’s Human Rights Hall of Fame. In addition to her work on affordable housing with MHP, Ms. Shannon was active in other nonprofit organizations, including the United Way, the Montgomery County Arts Council, the NAACP, and the Regional Institute of Children and Adolescents.
While there are many challenges during the COVID crisis, working together with community partners we are staying connected and providing help. Here are some examples:
The Share Literacy project donated 140 storybooks to help our students keep reading while they are learning at home. MHP's Ernst Aristor was there to receive this generous donation. The books went home to families in MHP's Wheaton residences, tucked inside bags of donated food.
Bags of food are donated regularly by a group of teachers at Arcola Elementary School, with help from friends and neighbors. This included a recent truck delivery of fresh produce to feed 200 families in Wheaton. In partnership with generous donors, we are sponsoring 10 Takoma Park families to give them access to fresh, locally grown produce throughout the summer months through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subsidy program offered by Licking Creek Bend Farm.
Our Neighborhoods Department is developing engaging ways to promote local restaurants in the Long Branch and Bonifant neighborhoods and encourage takeout purchases to help these businesses and their employees. The efforts include remote trivia competitions -- those purchasing carryout meals can join in the fun. The first of these events attracted more than 60 participants and more are planned.
Our teaching staff continues to connect with students in various ways, even if classes cannot gather in person. These include Zoom sessions on line and offering parents the option to pick up activity packets to bring home, conforming to social distancing requirements.
To all of our partners and our dedicated staff, thank you!
Golf Tournament: Tentative New Date
The 2020 Norman Christeller Golf Classic, an important source of support for MHP's Community Life student enrichment programs, has been tentatively rescheduled for Friday, Sept. 25. Stay tuned for more details.
Recognizing the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine, Montgomery County has taken several steps to protect low-income residents and provide housing stability. MHP has been actively advocating for these steps. One initiative caps rent increases for a specified period after the expiration of the COVID emergency. Another provides a $5 million special appropriation to give direct aid to community members facing economic hardships. MHP supports these initiatives and encourages county leaders to continue to address the needs of economically vulnerable residents. Learn more here.
MHP Welcomes New CFO
We welcome Bill Harrison as MHP's new chief financial officer. Bill has a long history as a CFO with other organizations and also is a lawyer. He most recently worked as CFO for the National Aquarium in Baltimore. He has experience with the Low Income Housing Tax Credit industry from an investor perspective.
He can be reached at email@example.com.
For more than 30 years, MHP has created quality affordable homes in Montgomery County and the surrounding region. MHP has developed more than 2,100 affordable apartments, condos, and townhomes. We also work to enhance the vitality of the neighborhoods where affordable housing is located and offer Community Life Programs for the residents.