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The Baltimore City Health Department has declared a Winter Shelter Status alert for Saturday, January 13 to Friday, January 19. Find additional information on winter shelter status and resources here.
We advocate on local, state and national levels to address the underlying causes of homelessness and challenge the status quo.
We close the clinic for one full day each legislative session so that all staff, accompanied by clients and volunteers, can meet with lawmakers in Annapolis to discuss issues of homelessness and health.
At critical junctures in the legislative process where we have the chance to influence a legislative outcome, we activate our community through advocacy alerts. Sign up for our emails to receive important updates.
Our staff and clients have unique insight into the issues that drive and affect poverty, health and homelessness. That insight, in turn, can be critical to informing the course of legislation and public policy decisions. See our staff and client advocates in action.
It's early in the session, but see our 2018 priorities out of the gate.
Despite its passage in both legislative chambers, Governor Hogan vetoed the successful paid sick leave bill on May 26. We at Health Care for the Homeless joined our partners in the Working Matters Coalition to express disappointment in this decision. We're committed to helping ensure the legislature overturns the governor's veto once the session opens in January 2018.
The General Assembly overwhelmingly passed the HOPE Act, HB 1329 / SB 967, a new law that expands treatment options for people with mental health and substance use disorders.
The Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) Act, HB 172/SB 728, was another big bill for us this session—again. And while it advanced further than in years past, once again, it stalled in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.
These are proven to improve health outcomes by reducing the spread of infectious diseases, including HIV and Hepatitis C; helping drug users receive treatment; and preventing drug overdose. Ultimately, HB519 did not make it out of the House Health and Government Operations Committee.
Dental coverage for adults in Maryland is long overdue. HB 1158 would have authorized the state of Maryland to create a dental Medicaid benefit for adults with household incomes at or below 133 percent of the poverty level. It didn't pass but the Maryland Dental Action Coalition is required to conduct a study on the annual cost of emergency room visits to treat dental conditions of adult Medicaid enrollees. The results will be released December 2017.
Temporary Disability Assistance Program (TDAP)
In partnership with the Maryland Alliance for the Poor, we successfully persuaded the legislature to recommend an increase in the Temporary Disability Assistance Program (TDAP) benefit by $10 per person, per month. This would be the first TDAP funding increase in 15 years and a small but important step forward for Marylanders. Unfortunately, the Governor has not accepted this recommendation, and will not add the money to the budget for the next fiscal year.
Despite a couple bills designed to unravel ongoing bail reform efforts, a Maryland Judiciary rule went into effect July 1, requiring district court commissioners and judges to pursue alternatives to bail when imposing conditions of release on defendants to ensure their appearance at trial.