WASHINGTON – Public housing units in Annapolis, Baltimore, Prince George’s and Montgomery counties and rural Maryland are getting federal grants to fight drugs and crime, Vice President Al Gore announced Friday.
The Housing and Urban Development Department awarded $5.4 million to seven Maryland public housing agencies as part of its drug elimination grant program.
“Grants put more crime-fighting resources in the hands of those closest to the crime,” Gore said. “These grants give all our children a chance to grow up in safe neighborhoods.”
The bulk of the Maryland money – $4.3 million – will go to the Baltimore Housing Authority.
Maryland’s second largest grant – $391,300 – will go to the Montgomery County Housing Opportunity Commission.
The Annapolis Housing Authority will receive $300,000 to fund its law enforcement, prevention and treatment programs.
In Western Maryland, educational drug prevention programs will benefit from the Cumberland Housing Authority’s $129,000, said Fay Mummert, the authority’s executive director.
The Kingsley Apartments in Baltimore also will get federal money. Its $124,841 is part of the separate funding for private, government-assisted housing developments.
The Glenarden Apartments in Lanham will receive $118,914 to develop partnerships with local businesses and government.
The partnerships will “provide residents with the type of training and educational needs to move into the economic mainstream,” said Bill Guessford, Glenarden’s asset manager. The money also will be used for drug education and prevention classes.
The Housing Authority of Havre De Grace will receive $50,000. That money is to be used primarily to pay for police overtime and to fund drug awareness programs for adults and children, said Georgette Nicholson, deputy director of the authority.
“It is also used to better educate people so that they can better advance themselves in their employment,” she said.
Drug elimination grants are given to public housing authorities, to Indian housing authorities and to privately owned low-income housing developments that receive assistance from the department.
There were four criteria to qualify for the two-year grant, said Sonia L. Burgos, director of HUD’s Office of Crime Prevention and Security, which administers the program.
There must be a problem that can be addressed, a plan to address the needs, the capacity to see it through and resident and local government involvement, she said.
“These grants fund both sides of the equation,” said HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo. The grants provide more police and enforcement and also hope to those who want to turn their lives around, he said.