Registration Deadline EXTENDED by April 22 - Regular Rate - Hotel Deadline: May 2 -- Human Service Conference




REGISTRATION
2016 Human Service Conference
An Awesome Training and Networking Opporunity

Looking to sharpen your direct service practice, management, and leadership skills? Rejuvenate your passion? Join us for the 2016 Human Services Conference: 

"Partners in Excellence"

Regular Registration Rates Apply Until April 22, 2016 
Full Conference Rate: $385 | One Day Conference Rate: $200

Your Full Conference Registration Package Includes:
*Admittance to innovative and educational presentations, and workshops.
*Exclusive networking opportunities.
*Access to motivating speakers.
*CEUs for workshops and panels for a small fee. 

*Networking Reception on Tuesday, May 3
*Awards Dinner on Wednesday, May 4 
*Partnership Luncheon on Thursday, May 5
*Conference Bag and Souvenir Itinerary Program Book
*Registration Package Options for the OHEP and Weatherization TRACKS may vary.

 CONFERENCE OPTIONS:

  • Sponsorship, Exhibitors, Advertisementclick here.

Room blocks have been reserved for attendees. Availability is on a first come, first serve basis, so reserve your hotel room early.
Group Rate Available Until May 2, 2016
Mention: MCAP/MACAA Group
Sheraton Baltimore North Hotel, 903 Dulaney Valley Rd, Towson, MD 21204 




Please contact Dr. Susan Gove at sgove@gove.org or me at myoung@maryland-cap.org should you have questions.

Thank you. 

Sincerely,

Michael E. Young, MSW
Executive Director
Maryland Community Action Partnership (MCAP)
(443) 482-5169

Maryland Community Action Partnership (MCAP)


420 Chinquapin Round Road 

2nd Floor, Suite 2-I


Phone: (443) 482-5168  * 



Fax: (443) 482-5104
Maryland Community Action Partnership, 420 Chinquapin Round Road, Suite 2-I, Annapolis, MD 20401

Denying Housing Over Criminal Record May Be Discrimination


Rowhouses in Baltimore sit across the street from a church where Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) held a meeting last summer about, among other things, reducing ex-convict recidivism.  Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images


The Department of Housing and Urban Development is making it easier for people with criminal records to find housing.
In new guidance, released Monday, HUD tells landlords and home sellers that turning down tenants or buyers based on their criminal records may violate the Fair Housing Act.
Because of widespread racial and ethnic disparities in the U.S. criminal justice system, criminal history-based restrictions on access to housing are likely disproportionately to burden African Americans and Hispanics.
New HUD guidance on criminal records and the Fair Housing Act

People with criminal records aren't a protected class under the Fair Housing Act, and the guidance from HUD's general counsel says that in some cases, turning down an individual tenant because of his or her record can be legally justified.
But blanket policies of refusing to rent to anybody with a criminal record are de facto discrimination, the department says — because of the systemic disparities of the American criminal justice system.
When A Criminal Past Closes Doors

One in four Americans has a criminal record, as NPR's Carrie Johnson has reported. Those records can include arrests that never led to convictions, as well as convictions for a wide range of crimes — from petty to serious — that may have happened decades ago.
A record can make it hard to find a job — or a home. Many private landlords and public housing projects have policies against renting to people with criminal records.
Take Melvin Lofton, who spoke with NPR's Cheryl Corley. Lofton was convicted of burglary and theft when he was in his 20s; now he's 51.
He lives with his mom, and says it would be hard to find housing without that family connection. He remembers one time when he tried to rent a home in a trailer park.
i
Melvin Lofton, who lives with his mother, says landlords have turned him away in the past because of his record. Cheryl Corley/NPR

"I was at work and the guy called me and told me to come pick up my keys. So I was happy. I got a place to stay," Lofton says. "So then ... 45 to 50 minutes later he calls and says, 'Is there something you're not telling me?' and I say, 'No, what is there? And he says, 'You didn't tell me you had a background.' "
Lofton had been out of prison for 20 years at the time, Cheryl reports.
Seemingly Neutral Policies Can Be Discriminatory

HUD's new guidance warns that landlords could be breaking the law when they refuse to rent to people with criminal records — even if they have no intention to discriminate — because such a policy would likely have a disproportionate impact on African-American and Hispanic applicants.
Housing Secretary Julian Castro puts it another way, NPR's Cheryl Corley reports: "When landlords refuse to rent to anyone who has an arrest record, they effectively bar the door to millions of folks of color for no good reason."
E. Ann Carson, Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Dept of Justice, "Prisoners in 2014," and Census data, via HUD. Camila Domonoske/NPR

HUD notes that whether an individual landlord's policy has a discriminatory impact will need to be determined on a case-by-case basis. But on a national level, HUD provided a list of statistics — direct from the Justice Department — demonstrating disproportionately high rates of arrest and incarceration based on race. They noted African-American men are imprisoned at a rate nearly six times that of white men, and Hispanic men at more than twice the rate of white men.
All Criminal Records Aren't Created Alike ...

That doesn't mean landlords are completely barred from considering criminal records — but they'd have to prove that their policy legitimately serves to protect safety or property.
Saying "criminals are poor tenants" doesn't cut it, HUD says: "Bald assertions based on generalization or stereotype" aren't sufficient.
Barring people based just on arrest records is no good, HUD says, because arrests alone aren't proof of guilt. And even if you only consider convictions, refusing to rent to all ex-cons — "no matter when the conviction occurred, what the underlying conduct entailed, or what the convicted person has done since then," HUD writes — also isn't defensible, since not all ex-cons will pose a risk to safety or property.
Instead, HUD writes, landlords should have a policy that takes into consideration what the crime was and when it happened, as well as other factors, to reduce the discriminatory impact. (The only exception is if a conviction was for manufacturing or distributing drugs.)
... And You Can't Use Records As A Pretext For Discrimination

HUD also warns landlords that if they do intend to discriminate, and use criminal records as a cover for their actions, they can be found in violation.
For instance, landlords who reject black or Hispanic applicants ostensibly because of criminal records — but accept a white tenant with a similar criminal record — could be found guilty of violating the Fair Housing Act.
That discrimination could happen even before a candidate applies, HUD writes:
"Intentional discrimination may be proven based on evidence that, when responding to inquiries from prospective applicants, a property manager told a African American individual that her criminal record would disqualify her from renting an apartment, but did not similarly discourage a White individual with a comparable criminal record from applying."
In both cases — whether the discrimination is accidental or intentional — each instance would have to be considered on a case by case basis.
But "arbitrary and overbroad" policies, as well as any that are mere pretexts to conceal discrimination, aren't protected.
HUD officials told NPR's Cheryl Corley that the goal is to make landlords consider: Is their policy towards criminal records about keeping a community safe?
Or is it about keeping somebody out of a home?​

NPR America

Water from a fountain? Not in Baltimore city schools


Signs above sinks

At Cecil Elementary School in Baltimore, where bone-dry water fountains stand next to brimming water coolers, several third-graders who've never drunk from the fountains puzzled over why they didn't work.

Maybe the fountains need batteries and they don't have them, one student said. Maybe the pipes are clogged, another suggested.

"We have always wondered about that water fountain," said Alexandria Francis, who along with her classmates had no clue that administrators have shut down fountains throughout the Baltimore City school system to protect kids from getting lead poisoning.

More than a decade before lead-tainted drinking water in Flint, Mich., became a national scandal, Baltimore schools found the metal in drinking water, shut down water fountains and brought in bottled water. School officials have struggled since with the inconvenience of hauling big plastic water containers, handing out and collecting small paper cups, and limiting sink use to hand washing.

Those problems, education advocates say, would never have been allowed to continue in wealthier school districts with more resources to rip out pipes and provide safe tap water. In cash-strapped Baltimore, no plan exists to renovate all city schools and remove and replace lead pipes. Students will continue to get bottled water from water coolers at most schools.

"It is the best option we have for providing clean drinking water for our kids," said J. Keith Scroggins, the chief operating officer.

A package of legislation introduced in Congress in February by Sen. Ben Cardin could provide funds for city schools to replace pipes, though its chances are uncertain in the Republican-controlled Senate. The legislation is aimed at improving municipal water systems in the wake of Flint, but the Maryland Democrat said he hopes money to fix school pipes could come through a state revolving fund if the legislation passes and the funds are appropriated.

Fixing the problem in Baltimore — replacing all the water pipes in a school — would cost millions per school, Scroggins said. By comparison, the school system now spends $450,000 a year supplying bottled water to all but six of its 180 schools.

The problem will be fixed over time, Scroggins said, as schools are renovated or rebuilt during the next decades. The city will begin breaking ground at several schools in coming months as part of a $1 billion school construction plan that will replace or renovate between 23 and 28 schools in the next four years. Those schools will join six schools that have been built in the past decade that don't have lead-tainted water problems.

But even after about $1 billion is spent, more than 100 schools will continue using bottled water.

Baltimore's water supply is considered among the highest-quality in the nation, but the pipes within schools are the problem.

Jason Botel, a former principal at KIPP Ujima Village Academy middle school, sometimes had to carry the large barrel-like bottles on his shoulder to place them around the school. He also had to find the best way to distribute and collect hundreds of little paper cups each day.

"If the elevator went down, then it meant carrying those big heavy Deer Park water bottles," Botel said. "It was diverting energy away from teaching and learning. ... There was a lot of work making sure there were enough recycling and trash cans" for the paper cups.

Cecil Elementary's cafeteria uses very little water because it doesn't prepare school lunches on site. Each lunch comes in a plastic foam container in which it is warmed up and served to students. Tap water is used to wipe down the cafeteria tables and stainless-steel surfaces. Signs above the sinks in the bathrooms warn students and faculty that the water is for hand washing only.

Most other schools in the Baltimore area don't have the same lead infrastructure problems.

Water from a fountain? Not in Baltimore city schools

"In most communities around the country we have to acknowledge that this would not be acceptable," said Botel, now the executive director of MarylandCan, an education advocacy organization.

Nonetheless, Botel said, the decision to shut down the water fountains more than a decade ago was warranted and kept students safe, and the bottled water solution is an effective one. He and school officials agree that the inconvenience of drinking bottled water is just one of the many facilities problems that plague city schools.

Classrooms in dozens of schools, for instance, are either too hot or too cold because of the lack of air-conditioning and old heating systems that are not easily regulated. The air problems exacerbate asthma conditions and make it hard for students to concentrate on classwork — two issues that some teachers and parents find more concerning than having to use bottled water.

"I honestly prefer the bottled water because it is safer and clean," said Aisha Robinson, the mother of Alexandria, the third-grader at Cecil. "I am scared for my child to drink tap water."

Health and safety must come first, said Frank Patinella at the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, which has advocated for additional funding to repair and replace city schools.

"The school system has made the right choice in purchasing bottled water," he said. "Given the many dozens of urgent repairs needed each year — fixing leaking roofs, updating fire alarm systems and keeping the heat on — there is not enough funding to replace old lead pipes in over a hundred schools in the city."

Nearly a generation of children has grown up drinking water from paper cups at school, said Roxanne Forr, principal of Cecil Elementary.

"It is all the kids know," she said. "That is the only way they have ever gotten water."

Forr said the district's central office provides ample supplies of water and everyone has adjusted over the years. She believes the school's tap water is probably safe to drink. The school was renovated some years ago, and she knows of no test that showed unsafe lead levels when the water was regularly tested a decade ago.

Still, as a precaution, the school system will continue using bottled water for all but the most recently renovated schools.

Lead was first discovered in city schools in the early 1990s, when school officials ordered that water from fountains and sinks be tested. Those with unsafe lead levels were turned off and water coolers were installed. School officials weren't vigilant, however, and the water was turned back on at some schools.

Enter James Williams in 2003. A parent advocate whose son suffered lead paint poisoning a decade earlier, Williams began a one-man crusade to prove the water in schools was tainted by lead. He visited schools, had the water tested, and presented the results to the school board.

His findings alarmed board members, and soon the city Health Department was testing the water and shutting down school water supplies. At first, health officials ordered just the water sources with high lead levels shut down, but in 2007 city schools chief Andrés Alonso decided that annual water tests were too expensive and that it would be cheaper to turn off the drinking water in all schools and provide bottled water.

The test results at the time showed higher-than-acceptable lead levels from some water sources that had been deemed safe.

Although the issue of lead was lost on the third-graders at Cecil Elementary, Alexandria Francis and her classmates debated the pros and cons of water coolers versus fountains.

If they turned the water back on, Alexandria said, "that would save money."

"What if they had a recycling bin" for the paper cups? Kamurie Corprew asked.

"If we save money, we save trees," Alexandria said.

They decided they liked the idea of working fountains, and classmate Brielle Bowles pointed out that the savings could be spent on field trips and extra supplies for their classroom.

twitter.com/lizbowie

Celebrate Changemakers: Awards Ceremony and Celebration at the NCHV Annual Conference

Celebrate Changemakers: Awards Ceremony and Celebration at the NCHV Annual Conference
NCHV Annual Conference June 1-3, 2016 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C. 

Know someone who is positively impacting the lives of local veterans in need? What if you could see them honored before hundreds of their peers, receiving the recognition and thanks they deserve? Register now for the NCHV Annual Conference, which includes your ticket to the NCHV Awards Ceremony and Celebration, to be held on June 2 from 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Join your partners in service as we celebrate change agents from across the country. After the Awards Ceremony, join us in celebrating your hard work at our Awards Celebration, where we honor the contributions of all our partners and NCHV Members ending homelessness for veterans and their families.
Register today for the NCHV Annual Conference and say thank you for your service!