From Harford County government:
On Thursday, January 24, 2013 Harford County local homeless service providers, community volunteers, local police agencies, and the Harford County Government joined together in a coordinated effort to conduct a one day count of homeless persons in Harford County.
During the annual point-in-time homeless count, donated hats, gloves, coats, blankets, personal care items, food, and bus vouchers were distributed to the homeless and the remaining donations were shared with community shelter providers, Anna’s House, Alliance, Inc., and Homecoming Project, Inc. The Harford County Department of Community Services along with many volunteers conducted the count, along with officer escorts from the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, Havre de Grace Police Department, the Aberdeen Police Department, and the Bel Air Police Department.
Results from the point-in-time count reveal a total count of 166 homeless persons. Breakdown of the numbers being served include 98 adults and 68 children sheltered and receiving comprehensive support services. Single adults found during our street outreach totaled eight. Harford County officials estimate a 3% margin of error due to the transient nature of homelessness.
The countywide event allows Harford County to secure the federal, state, and local funding necessary to serve the most vulnerable population and may assist in gaining expansion grants. The data collected during the annual homeless count also allows the community to strategically plan for the future needs of citizens.
Each year, the Harford County Department of Community Services works with community and faith-based agencies to help families avoid homelessness. When tough times happen to families, the department works with partners to make sure funding can be accessed at various locations throughout the County. Through partnerships, homeless individuals and families are able to develop life skills and employment opportunities, and achieve self-sufficiency by obtaining safe, 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 thirteen emergency, transitional and permanent supportive shelters, offering a total of 304 beds for homeless adults, children and families. In fiscal year 2012, Harford County provided 997 people with 63,261 emergency shelter or transitional housing bed nights, for an average stay of 37nights per person. In 2012, the Harford County Department of Community Services provided more than a $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.
To learn more about homeless services in Harford County, visit http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/services/downloads.cfm?FormID=2091 or call the Department of Community Services at 410-638-3389.