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Senators Cardin and Van Hollen Deliver $1M to The Arc

March 20, 2023
Senator Cardin and Senator Van Hollen deliver $1 Million Dollars to The Arc

On Friday, March 17, The Arc Central Chesapeake Region hosted US Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen at their Easton Regional Office for a press conference and roundtable.

At the press conference, Jonathon Rondeau, President & CEO, announced $1 million, secured by the senators, to support transformational change for The Arc and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) throughout the region.

The federal funds include $250,000 to scale The Arc’s Behavioral Health program and $750,000 to support the construction of Port Street Commons.

Scaling Behavioral Health

In 2020, The Arc received a small grant to start ‘Coping with COVID.’ These group therapy sessions were intended to help people process the emotions they were experiencing because of the pandemic. What The Arc found was a deeper need for connection and understanding. Instead of focusing on isolation because of the lockdown, people talked about the isolation of having a disability and not being fully engaged with their community. People came out to their friends and families. People expressed their desire to make friends or find a romantic partner.

Immediately, The Arc knew there was more here. Behavioral Health transformed to focus on a more holistic, trauma-informed approach. Meeting people where they were in small groups or individual counseling sessions. In just over two years, The Arc has added two clinicians to our team and is serving nearly 130 people monthly.

People with IDD often have co-occurring mental health diagnoses. There are not enough resources for people with disabilities to access the essential mental health support they need. The Arc receives calls all the time from other providers who don’t feel they can adequately support people with disabilities through their current services.

People need access to mental health support. The Arc is proud to share that $250,000 of the federal funding secured by Senators Cardin and Van Hollen will support hiring eight additional clinicians by the Fall of 2024.

Bringing Port Street Commons to Easton

In addition to creating opportunities for people to access mental health care – The Arc is leading the way in bringing choice to people throughout the region.

Across the shore, there are as few as a single service provider per county. By contrast, Anne Arundel County (where The Arc also operates) offers people a choice of over 30 providers. The lack of options profoundly affects people’s ability to live the life they choose for themselves. What if the services you desire aren’t offered by the provider in your county? What if there isn’t a provider that operates in your region?

‘What do I do’ and ‘I want to be a part of the community’ is the feedback The Arc hears the most. In 2007 The Arc answered pleas from the community asking for more choices in services. Today, The Arc is creating greater access and connection to the community through innovative programs and services.

To do this, The Arc is investing in more resources to provide the best services possible. That includes more physical space to grow our operations and better support our programs and people.

The federal funds secured by Senators Cardin and Van Hollen include $750,000 to support Port Street Commons – a truly unique community resource.

Port Street Commons will host The Arc at Port Street – The Arc’s permanent Eastern Shore headquarters. The Arc needs additional space to support, innovate, and grow. Port Street will have room to expand programs and services, a professional development center large enough to host The Arc’s growing team, a Community Hub located centrally in the community, and a behavioral health suite to accommodate our growing program.

Port Street Commons is much more than just a new office. It is an innovative resource and is being developed in partnership with key stakeholders throughout the community, like Chesapeake Neighbors.

In 2007, The Arc created Chesapeake Neighbors – recognizing that stable housing is a cornerstone of people’s lives and true independence cannot be achieved without it. Chesapeake Neighbors’ mission has broadened over time, supporting affordable housing initiatives not just for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities but for all people.

Port Street Commons will include The Residences at Port Street – nine two and three-bedroom apartment units targeted to community members of modest means. These apartments will mix market-rate, affordable, and permanent supportive housing. The Arc is proud to work with organizations like Chesapeake Neighbors and the Talbot Interfaith Shelter to develop a creative approach to one of Maryland’s most pressing issues.

Port Street Commons will break ground in June, and The Arc anticipates moving in 2024. Port Street will ultimately connect the thriving, historic downtown with Easton’s waterfront.

Immediately following the press conference, Senators Cardin and Van Hollen presented a check for $1,000,000 to Jonathon Rondeau. The senators and Rondeau then joined local community leaders inside The Arc’s office for a brief roundtable on mental health throughout the region. Panelists included Cathy Cassel, Channel Marker; Judi Olinger, Chesapeake Neighbors; Beth Ann Langrell, For All Seasons; Julie Lowe, Talbot Interfaith Shelter, and Cindy Lindgren, The Arc Central Chesapeake Region.

See below for additional media coverage from the event:

Federal funding to help The Arc Central Chesapeake Region expand space, services

Cardin, Van Hollen present $1M Checks to Easton nonprofits





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