Program Helps Those in Need of Financial Assistance

Written and published by WBALTV

October 11, 2010

A new program is helping people who have found themselves in tough financial situations and don't know where to turn for help.

The EarnBenefits Project helps people who have fallen on hard times.

Sandra Miller said her husband lost his job, and times grew hard. She said she worked for the same company for 21 years and was always able to pay her bills and mortgage on time.

"I didn't know where to go. I was at a loss. When I came in here, it was to get food, and they told me there was someone I need to meet," she said.

Miller got connected with Katie Rose of the EarnBenefits Project.

"About 90 percent of my clients are people seeking assistance for the first time in their lives, and a lot of them don't know how to navigate the network of social organizations, whether it be the Department of Social Services or seeking assistance from charitable associations," Rose said.

The EarnBenefits Project is funded by Catholic charities and serves the six parishes in Baltimore and Baltimore County. In the short time it's been in existence, it has already helped lots of people.

"We've only been seeing clients for about six weeks, and we've served 86 households and 172 individuals, and many of those are children. So, we're doing a lot of outreach and education, as well as connecting people to benefits they desperately need," said Cathy Demeroto, of Catholic Charities of Baltimore.

Most of those getting help are like Miller -- they never thought they would be in this situation.

"I've been trying to find out what kinds of help I can get, and it's like pulling teeth. Nobody wants to tell you what you're eligible for unless you ask, and I didn’t know who to ask," Miller said. "The whole program was a blessing."


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