ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today announced new partnerships – including a volunteer-based delivery service – that will significantly expand no-cost access to medical equipment provided through an innovative program known as the Loan Closet.
The Maryland Department of Aging will make a variety of more complex medical equipment, such as hospital beds and motorized chairs, available at Howard County’s Loan Closet and accessible for neighboring counties including Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Montgomery, and Prince George’s County. Additionally, Neighbor Ride will now be offering delivery services for The Loan Closet for clients who do not have transportation access. Photos can be found here.
The Loan Closet truly embodies the idea of paying it forward. When canes, walkers, and wheelchairs are no longer needed, they can be donated and repurposed to promote safety and independence for a fellow community member. Serving more than 6,000 residents a year, the Loan Closet is a trusted resource, and shows how simple ideas can be life-altering for those in need. The new partnerships we are announcing will make every day a little easier, and a lot more affordable for our rehabilitating neighbors.
The latest expansion of the Loan Closet speaks to its impactful and efficient services. Over the past five years, the Loan Closet has seen a 122% increase in residents served. In 2022, it anticipates providing services and equipment to nearly 8,000 clients. Approximately 95% of clients said items from the Loan Closet helped them stay safe and independent in the community. Nearly 100% of clients were satisfied with the services provided by the Loan Closet. The medically necessary equipment ranges in value from $5 to $20,000 per piece. About 52% of clients served are considered low-income and about 80% of the costly equipment and devices is not usually covered by insurance.
“The Department of Aging is grateful for this partnership with Howard County, which allows us to give Howard County residents, and residents of the neighboring counties, even more access to the mobility equipment they need,” said Ian Edwards Director of the Reuse Program at the Maryland Department of Aging.
"Neighbor Ride is excited to be a part of this medical equipment delivery partnership with the Howard County Loan Closet and its many partners. It is another wonderful example of how our volunteer drivers can better serve the needs of their fellow neighbors here in the county and the simple power of collaboration," said Bruce Fulton, Executive Director of Neighbor Ride.
Howard County’s Loan Closet has distributed nearly 35,000 pieces of equipment at a value of more than $7.3 million since it opened in 2004. The Department of Community Resources and Services (DCRS) took over operations in 2016. County Executive Ball spearheaded The Loan Closet’s relocation to its current 7,500 square foot space in 2019. Under DCRS, the Loan Closet has continued growing, notably with strong partnerships with local non-profits and agencies including:
- The Maryland Department of Disabilities;
- Equipment Connections for Children; and
- Rebuilding Together.
"The existing collaboration between the Maryland Department of Disabilities (MDOD) and the Howard County Loan Closet provides the state's High-Tech Assistive Technology Reuse Center,” said MDOD Secretary Carol Beatty. "MDOD welcomes the addition of the Maryland Department of Aging's Durable Medical Equipment Reuse program and Neighbor Ride as valued partners to meet the needs of Howard County and Marylanders with disabilities."
"Equipment Connections for Children is proud to be a part of an amazingly dedicated team of organizations offering diverse services to those living with disabilities across the age spectrum. This partnership has allowed us to face the ever-growing need in and around Howard County,” said Jason Herring, Executive Director of Equipment Connections for Children.
“Rebuilding Together Howard County greatly appreciates its’ partnership with the Howard County Government and especially the Department of Community Resources and Services. Jointly, our resources are focused on meeting the needs of low-income residents in Howard County. By working together, we are better able to leverage resources and meet the needs of clients in need,” said Ann Heavner, Executive Director of Rebuilding Together of Howard County.
“Thank you so much for all the help. It means a lot and has made such a difference in my life,” shared Howard County resident Rebecca Lloyd.