On May 24, the Howard County Council voted to approve the FY 2024 budget, which includes a record level of funding for several important public health and racial equity initiatives. The Horizon Foundation, Howard County’s community health foundation and the largest independent health philanthropy in the state of Maryland, issued the following statement in response:
“The final FY 2024 budget approved by the County Council makes critical investments in our community’s public health. We would like to thank County Executive Dr. Calvin Ball for his leadership and commitment to good health for all, as well as our County Councilmembers for their work and partnership to build a healthier, safer, more connected and more equitable community.
We also want to thank our partners in the Streets for All Coalition, Howard County Health Justice Coalition, the Mental Health Matters Coalition and the many Howard County residents and community leaders who advocated for these important public health initiatives:
- $12+ million – a new record from the $8+ million committed last year – for complete streets. This funding will further advance projects along Rogers Avenue, Dobbin Road, US Route 1, Elkridge Main Street, Guilford Road and MD 108 and others.
- $1.7 million for the Maternity Partnership Program to provide important prenatal and postpartum care for uninsured and underinsured mothers in our community. The program, initially set up last year, works to provide a full continuum of care to reduce the risks of preterm births and maternal complications.
- Funding to reduce barriers to mental health care in Howard County schools so we can ensure all students who need help can get it. This funding is part of the county’s commitment to expand enhanced school-based mental health supports to all Howard County public schools by the end of next school year.
- Approximately $11 million (in state and county funds) for the newly announced Lakefront Library. The new library will be a civic hub for residents to learn and for our community organizations to forge new partnerships with one another. In particular, the Foundation is very excited to work with the library as it expands its racial equity initiatives and resource center.
We commend County Executive Ball, his Administration, our County Councilmembers and their staff for prioritizing equity and public health in the budget. Investing in Howard County’s health, advancing racial equity and strengthening community partnerships will help all our residents live long, healthy and vibrant lives.”