From Harford County Government:
(Bel Air, MD) – Local homeless service providers, community volunteers, law enforcement agencies, and Harford County Government will come together on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 to hold a one-day count of homeless people in Harford County.
Like nearly all communities, Harford County has citizens who are living in places not meant for human habitation, outside and unsheltered, or who are relying daily on some form of emergency housing. Conducting a count of the homeless in the community will not only help determine how many are homeless, but it will also help us to understand the underlying issues that have contributed to the person becoming homeless. Collecting good data, characteristics, and service needs of the homeless in the community will allow local human service providers to get the necessary information to effectively plan programs to eradicate homelessness in Harford County.
Physical and mental health treatment, addictions services, employment readiness training, job placement, credit repair and life skills training are among some of the services a homeless person or family will need as they work toward self-sufficiency. Evaluating data that is collected during this point-in-time count will help identify where gaps in services may exist in order to work toward filling those gaps.
Citizens that would like to donate blankets, hats, gloves, water bottles, personal care items or who want to help pack bag lunches for the homeless should contact the Harford Roundtable Homeless Count sub-committee at 410-638-3389 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Each year, the Harford County Department of Community Services works with community and faith-based agencies to help families avoid homelessness. The department works with partners to make sure funding can be accessed at various locations throughout the County when tough times happen to families. Partnerships allow homeless people and families to develop life skills, access employment opportunities, and achieve self-sufficiency by obtaining safe and affordable housing. The Department also helps divert individuals with mental health issues away from the criminal justice system and into treatment, which reduces recidivism and increases stability.
Harford County currently has 13 emergency, transitional, and permanent supportive shelters, offering a total of 290 year round beds for homeless adults, children and families. In Fiscal Year 2013, 830 people were provided with 39,262 emergency shelter and transitional housing bed nights for an average stay of 21 nights per person.
In 2013, the Harford County Department of Community Services provided more than $1 million in homeless program funding, which assisted such organizations as Alliance, Inc., Faith Communities and Civic Agencies United, Inc. (FCCAU), Associated Catholic Charities Inc./Anna’s House, the Sexual Assault/Spouse Abuse Resource Center (SARC), Homecoming Project, Inc. and Harford Family House, Inc.
Other agencies within the community that support low-income residents include the Harford Community Action Agency (HCAA), Inner-County Outreach, Inc., Mason-Dixon Community Services, Tabitha’s House, St. Joan of Arc, St. Frances de Sales, the Salvation Army of Harford County, and many other civic agencies and churches. This group covers a wide array of essential services such as food banks, soup kitchens, eviction prevention, rental support, clothing closets and furniture/household materials, school, infant supplies, utility assistance and job training.
To learn more about homeless services in Harford County, visit www.harfordcountymd.gov/services/homeless or call the Department of Community Services at 410-638-3389.
Fed up says
Can you please explain how “counting homeless will help determine the underlying cause of homelessness….”? This makes no sense at all from a perspective of common sense or science. I understand there’s an interest to help, but this smells of pure bureacracy and we’re assured no positive outcome. There are probably better ways to help that don’t involve the government behaving in this way.
Actually, a significant part of the “counting” is done by nonprofits and other volunteers. The government coordinates it because it is a federal initiative.
Fed up says
btw – the ridiculous wording of the title makes one feel like we’re sending a team out to count osprey on the Bush River!
Don't judge says
As it states information is gathered by survey from any person that is encountered that is homeless. This survey asks questions such as the reason the person is homeless. This information is actually used to assist in finding gaps in resources that need to be filled to assist people.
This is correct. This is how they figured out that so many of the homeless are vets, and why now the VA has so many homeless and housing programs.
To a degree, it also provides data to estimate the level of need for funds in different locations, and also (cynically) so that someone can say that Program X is working and type up a press release saying that there are less homeless people to help someone get elected to something.
I wonder if there is a way to send a text to everyone on a cell tower located in hazard?.. you know, they get all the free stuff they want. So send a mass text “Are you homeless?” REPLY “Y or N”..
You know so now they have some way to track them breaking into my dog’s dog house and steeling its began strips. They are tasty BTW, not as tasty as a circus clown but delicious nonetheless.
Vietnam Vet says
I wonder how they became homeless in the first place. the Majority, are to lazy to work a 40 hour work week. Then of course there are the druggies, life gave them a raw deal.
Social security refuses them because they can work. So it’s only fitting that we support these Bum’s. I would suggest some of the Do gooder’s stop by Festival Park & take a few of them Home.
They will make a woderfull addition to your family.
A very significant, vast majority of the literally homeless are either substance abusers who refuse help, or those with mental health issues who refuse it or don’t know how to get it. These people are chronically homeless. Some of them want it that way. Some of them don’t know any other way. Both of them, with the right help, and their own determination, can end their homelessness.
Most of the remainder are people who are temporarily homeless because of a crisis.
Trust me, almost nobody is homeless because they are “lazy.” People who are just “lazy” know enough to get some kind of benefits or charity to be comfortable, whether that’s the gov’t or their family.
Also, people who aren’t “lazy” by the way, who work 40 hours a week and make $10/hr (well over min. wage) bring home $1600 before taxes. Every financial expert and HUD standards tell you not to pay much more than 30% of your income toward housing costs.
So when was the last time you found a studio apartment for $480/month?
Even the “hard workers” have a hard time finding a place to live right now.
Vietnam Vet says
The people who work are classified as the working poor Mininum wage workers. plenty of them around. I don’t have a problem helping them.
Don't judge says
It is pretty hard to get a job when you do not have an address, a place to shower, or reliable transportation. Once you get into that situation it can be extremely difficult to get out.
Vietnam Vet says
Don’t Judge: I would suggest you take some of them Home with you. They would make a wonderfull addition to your family. Would you like to take a Drug Addict. Convicted sex offender. Convicted Thief ?
Don’t think so ? check there back ground.
Don't judge says
That would be “check their background”. I work with homeless clients in Harford County every day so don’t think I am sitting on a high pedestal somewhere, my guess is you are, because you are very quick to judge. God forbid you ever find yourself in this situation.
Concerned Citizen says
The process of quantifying the homeless on an annual basis is flawed from the outset. While on the surface the bureaucrats may think what they are doing serves a purpose, as it does help in identifying locally the number of homeless hanging out in the park and in other known areas. But what it misses are the homeless people, including families with young children, as well as adolescents thrown away by their families, who do not want anyone to know they are homeless. These are the people that services need to be focused on. Otherwise, we are just counting the same people we already know about and who often refuse services. I think it is also important to understand why a contingent of the homeless refuse to go into shelters. Aside from the fact that some have significant mental illness, many fear being further victimized in the shelter. Harford Count has really missed the mark in truly meeting the needs of some of our most vulnerable citizens, and instead are busy patting themselves for a job they think is well-done.
Vietnam Vet says
To quick to judge been there & done. Lived in a Drain Pipe. Have you ever heard of Post Traumatic stress ? It did not exist, in the 1960’s or early 70’s.
The choice they make is there own !!
Of course it did, but let this explain it to you