(Bel Air, MD – January 14, 2009) – – On January 28, 2009, Harford County Government, local homeless service providers, community volunteers, and local police agencies will come together in a coordinated effort to conduct a one day count of homeless persons in Harford County.
Harford County will use the data collected during this point-in-time count for the Continuum of Care application the County submits to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development each year. This competitive application is to renew funding Harford County currently receives for homeless transitional and permanent supportive housing programs, as well as to apply for additional (new) funds.
The counting will occur in 2 stages:
1. Sheltered Homeless Persons – (adults, children & unaccompanied youth) who are living in emergency shelters, transitional housing, domestic violence shelters, or motels/hotels (vouchers). These clients will also be surveyed by the programs that serve them during the day.
2. Unsheltered Homeless Persons – any person living in a place not meant for human habitation, such as cars, parks, abandoned buildings, etc. This count will be conducted as a street outreach with teams of volunteers going to pre-determined locations (known to be frequented by the homeless) to survey all homeless persons encountered. This portion of the count will take place at night.
Like many communities, Harford County has many among us 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 our community will not only help us realize how many are homeless, but also help us understand the underlying issues that have contributed to the person becoming homeless. Collecting good data, characteristics, and service needs of the homeless in our community will allow local human service providers to obtain the necessary information to effectively plan programs to eradicate homelessness in our 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. By evaluating data that is collected during this point-in-time count, our community can locate where gaps in services may exist, and work toward filling those gaps.
Currently, Harford County has six emergency, transitional and permanent supportive shelters, offering a total of 173 beds in Harford County. In fiscal year 2008, Harford County provided 1,100 people with 42,205 emergency shelter or transitional bed nights, for an average stay of 40 nights per person. Also in 2008, the Harford County Department of Community Services provided $1.5 million in homeless program funding, which helped such organizations as the Faith Communities and Civic Agencies United, Inc. (FCCAU), Anna’s House, Alliance, Homecoming, SARC, and Harford Family House.
To learn more about homeless services in Harford County, visit www.harfordcountymd.gov/services/homeless, or call the Harford County Department of Community Services at 410-638-3389.