Mission: To enable homeless and low-income people in crisis to achieve stability and long-term self-sufficiency.
About the organization: Founded in 1987 by local congregation leaders and community members who sought a consolidated approach to helping those who came to their doors for food and financial help, today Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services is staffed by trained social workers, and with financial and volunteer support from its founding faith-based partner organizations, provides emergency assistance, supportive housing, and self-sufficiency programs in Prince George's, Howard, and Anne Arundel counties, Maryland.
Current programs: The organization's services include emergency services ranging from financial assistance for rent payments, security deposits, utility bills, or documentation; a food pantry; homeless services, which includes a winter shelter rotated among local congregations from November through March; and seasonal programs such as help with school supplies and holiday food and gift baskets. LARS also offers permanent supportive housing, in which participants live independently with weekly case management and other supports provided as needed, and an eighteen- to twenty-four-month self-sufficiency program designed to help participants acquire the resources, skills, and sustained behavior changes necessary to attain and maintain economic independence.
COVID-19 response: Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services has continued to provide essential services; see the organization's website for updates.
Website: Visitors to the LARS website can learn how to access services, look up additional resources, sign up to volunteer, make a cash donation, or check out the organization's wish list to make an in-kind contribution.
Funding: Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services is supported by individuals, local congregations, government agencies, and program services.