Prince George's County Executive Lawrence Hogan proposed a bill yesterday to establish a $400,000 "trust for social care" to be paid for by the county and administered by private social service groups.
Hogan, a Republican who is running for the U.S. Senate, said the fund would "redress what I consider to have been a violation of a moral commitment to the poor," that occurred in the mid-1960s when county commissioners closed a century-old almshouse and began using the land for its animal shelter and public works offices.
Hogan said the trust is necessary because the 100 acres of land surrounding the almshouse was donated in 1771 for the care of the poor "forever." For years the county's home for the indigent elderly was situated on that property, on D'Arcy Road in Forestville. It closed in 1965 and Hogan said the land should have been reserved to provide social services.
"Let's just say the county's paying $412,000 for the land it stole from the poor," he said.
Hogan gave no details on how the money would aid the poor, saying the fund would be run by trustees who would decide this.
The value of the fund is based on the assessed value of the surplus land surrounding the county's animal shelter and offices, he said, although these buildings and the surrounding land will not be sold. Hogan said the money will come from the sale or appropriation of other surplus property.
Hogan said the trust would be run by representatives from five organizations: the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, The Salvation Army, the American Rescue Workers, and the county's bankers and bar associations, which will provide financial and legal advice to the trustees.
This is Hogan's second recent proposal to help low-income county residents. His first, in April, created a pilot program to help young single parents gain job training.