County unveils 10-year plan to address homelessness
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 13:53
 by Nicole Rodman

 Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz has unveiled a 10-year plan designed to prevent and reduce homelessness across the county.
    The new plan — the end result of years of work between the county and the Corporation for Supportive Housing — was authored by the National Alliance to End Homelessness.
    The plan will focus on strategies that, according to the county, “have proven to be effective in areas around the country.”
    According to county figures, more than 550 individuals are living in homeless shelters or on the streets of Baltimore County each night.
    The county’s Homeless Screening Unit does what it can to accommodate requests for shelter, but there is not enough space to house everyone who needs shelter.
To that end, the county is focusing on a housing-first model designed to help individuals find permanent housing while providing them with the services they will need to be successful.
    Such services include case management and skills training.
    The county’s 10-year plan also focuses on improving the way in which homeless services are administered.
    The plan calls for improvements to the system used to assess the needs of the homeless in Baltimore County as well as increased connections to supportive services.
    Finally, the plan seeks to prevent homelessness by providing rapid resources to those most in danger of becoming homeless.
    “Homelessness is a complex issue that requires more than a ‘one size fits all’ approach,” County Council Chair Cathy Bevins said. “This comprehensive plan real-ly addresses the many root causes of homelessness.”
    The county has allocated an additional $530,000 in the fiscal year 2015 budget to implement the new plan.
    The county’s plan was unveiled late last month at the future site of Prospect Place Permanent Supportive Housing in Rosedale.
    Prospect Place will offer efficiency apartments, with on-site case management, for chronically homeless single adults.
    While they may stay indefinitely, the goal is for residents to eventually find independent permanent housing.
    Like Prospect Place, Edgemere’s Hosanna House provides single rooms to 15 chronically homeless women with documented medical and/or mental health disabilities.
    The facility offers case management, skills training and financial management assistance to residents.
     The aim of facilities such as Prospect Place and Hosanna House is to offer longer-term solutions for homelessness while leaving shelters open to serve those most in need.