The United Way of Central Maryland announced $8.27 million in funding of grants and other community investment. The funding will be used to help families in Baltimore County, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties and Baltimore City. “Thanunited-way-lock-up-rgb-001ks to the generosity of local companies, foundations and individuals, we are able to continue our important efforts to change the odds for families and communities facing poverty,” said Mark Furst, president and CEO of United Way of Central Maryland, in a statement.

The money has already been earmarked for several initiatives across the region with a focus on connecting citizens to basic human services and putting families on the path to stability.

The United Way of Central Maryland has awarded 59 operating grants, totaling approximately $1.36 million, to organizations delivering critical basic needs services throughout central Maryland, including emergency housing, quality afterschool programming, healthcare services and more.  Also an additional pool of $179,000 has been reserved to support nonprofit organizations that experience unanticipated surges in demand for services or experience emergencies during the fiscal year.

Another $1.29 million has been allocated to the 2-1-1 Maryland United Way Helpline and the 2-1-1 Maryland system statewide. 2-1-1 is a confidential informational and referral service available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in 150 languages. The line can be called with requests for assistance with things like food, shelter,  healthcare, utility bills and tax preparation assistance.

United Way also has committed $600,000 to its partner, the American Red Cross – Greater Chesapeake, to underwrite its year-round local disaster response efforts.  Another $150,000 has been allocated to this year’s Project Homeless Connect being held on September 24, where more than 1,500 clients experiencing homelessness are expected to receive services onsite help from 150 providers.

United Way programs specifically targeting homeless and nearly homeless families include helping at-risk families stabilize before they become homeless, diverting homeless families from traditional shelters to permanent housing, accompanied by comprehensive case management and financial literacy, asset-building, budgeting and employment.

Earlier this year the group announced grants for community groups helping Baltimore recover following the riots in late April. The programs funded included ones for male mentoring, summer employment, arts programs for children and literacy programs.