Baltimore County Now
Ifenanya Agwu, Intern, Baltimore County Office of Communications
Around the world, the “local food” movement has been very good for small farmers, and over the last few decades, farmers markets have grown increasingly popular in the United States alone, from 1,755 markets in 1994 to 8,144 markets in 2013. It’s no wonder why – the fresh peaches, strawberries, apples and other produce I’ve bought from our County’s farmers markets have been some of the best I’ve ever had!
Even if I’m not in the mood for fresh produce, I can have one of my favorite summertime treats at the Towson Farmers Market – shaved ice from the Kona Ice truck, one of the many vendors that line Allegheny Avenue offering goods like fresh produce, baked goods, plants, crafts, delectable home-cooked food and many other interesting finds. Our farmers markets offer something for everyone, and to complement the great variety available, their prices are often less expensive than your local supermarket.
From spring to late fall, one can find a farmers market in Baltimore County nearly every day of the week. Come out and celebrate National Farmers Market Week 2014 from August 3-8 – shop local, eat healthy and feel happy! Visit enjoybaltimorecounty.com/Play/FarmersMarkets to find a Baltimore County farmers market near you.
Debi Wynn, Director of Education, Glenn L. Martin Maryland Aviation Museum
Aircraft manufacturing was an important asset to the growth of Baltimore County. In 1929, the Berliner Joyce Aircraft Corporation began manufacturing in Dundalk, and later changed its name to B/J Aircraft Corporation. By 1934, 500 employees were building a two-seat biplane fighter for the Army and light observation planes for the Navy.
Aviation pioneer Glenn L. Martin moved to Baltimore in 1929 and erected a modern factory that built more than 25 different aircraft and a dozen man-rated Titan missiles that orbited NASA’s Gemini astronauts in the mid-1960s. For nearly four decades, the air over Middle River was filled with seaplanes, bombers and passenger aircraft developed and built by the Glenn L. Martin Company.
During World War II, a peak employment of 53,000 Martineers labored three shifts in five camouflaged factories to produce warplanes for the Allied armies, including the famed “Baltimore bomber.” As men went to war, women stepped up to keep production moving, creating their own army of Rosie the Riveters.
Longtime Middle River residents still recall the sounds of engines in flight or running up at the airport, the warning horns of chase boats clearing the waterways for seaplane takeoffs, and the long lines of cars and buses bringing thousands to the region for much need employment.
Area farmlands quickly turned into the communities of Eastern Baltimore County that thrive today. Street names such as Fuselage Avenue and Cockpit Street honor the importance of the plant to the lives of tens of thousands of residents.
Today, corporate descendents Lockheed Martin and Middle River Aircraft Systems develop advanced aerospace and defense engineering solutions on the site of the original Martin Company plants. Martin State Airport in Baltimore County is one of the largest general aviation facilities on the East Coast and the operations home for the Maryland Air National Guard. To learn more about Baltimore County’s aviation history, visit the Glenn L. Martin Maryland Aviation Museum.
The Glenn L. Martin Maryland Aviation Museum shares Martin and Maryland aviation stories with visitors of all ages. The museum is located at Martin State Airport, with historic aircraft on view nearby at Strawberry Point.
Homeless Services Administrator
Baltimore County Department of Planning
To the average citizen the word “homeless” often conjures up the vision of person pan handling on the corner, living in a tent in the woods or in shelter. One might think to themselves that folks who are experiencing homelessness should pick themselves up, improve their lives, and get a job. We often don’t think about or see the larger scope, the complex problems these individuals face or the many services that already exist and how those services are delivered.
Baltimore County is making a daily difference in the lives of homeless men, women and children and County Executive Kamenetz is committed to not only continuing to support these efforts but to improving and building a stronger system that shifts our focus from shelters to long-term solutions.
There are more than 550 men, women and children living in homeless shelters across Baltimore County on any given night and hundreds living in places not meant for human habitation such as cars and encampments. The County with significant community support has devised a 10-Year Plan to shift homeless service delivery and as a result, prevent and reduce homelessness.
The plan, called “A Home for All,” began with an unprecedented community input process in 2010 and grew from the work of the Baltimore County Homeless Roundtable with significant input from the National Alliance to End Homelessness. Subcommittees focused on Housing, Accessing Mainstream Resources, Homeless Prevention and Outreach, Coordinated Assessment and Data Management worked to create seven key strategies:
Strategy One: Reconfigure the Crisis Response System:
Expand on the current coordinated assessment system and retool the emergency shelter system.
Strategy Two: Targeted Prevention Assistance
Focus prevention services on those most at risk of homelessness through careful selection and connection to mainstream resources.
Strategy Three: Rapid Re-Housing
Create a “housing first” approach that combines affordable and permanent housing with supportive services.
Strategy Four: Accessing Mainstream and Community Resources
Increase connections to mainstream resources in order to create a means for housing and self-sufficiency.
Strategy Five: Permanent and Supportive Housing
Create new permanent supportive housing units Countywide.
Strategy Six: Improved Data and Outcome Measures
Build on the existing performance measurement structure through the creation of system-wide data standards and reporting requirements.
Strategy Seven: Resource Allocation
Align funding sources around common outcomes including housing and supportive services.
Making it Happen:
The Homeless Roundtable, in coordination with these committees, is tasked with carrying out these action items and assuring that the County is moving forward to put in place systems which will result in the reduction and duration of homelessness for residents of Baltimore County.
Baltimore County is committed to realizing the goal of preventing and reducing homelessness, and as a result, has funding to begin to implement a number of the strategies shown above. Specifically, funds have been identified for the following programs:
1. Pilot Shelter Diversion - The primary goal of the pilot diversion program will be to work with individuals and families seeking shelter to find alternatives to entering the shelter system.
2. Rapid Re-housing –Through this program, families receive housing counseling, assistance in securing housing; time limited rental assistance and case management in order to ensure housing stability.
3. Increased Outreach - Prologue’s Street Outreach Team serves the most chronic and vulnerable homeless population in Baltimore County; those individuals and families living on the streets, in cars and in other places not meant for human habitation. Additional funds will allow for the addition of 1.5 outreach workers to provide outreach and case management, and for the Outreach Center to be open an additional day.
4. Job Navigator -Perhaps the most significant barrier to obtaining and retaining permanent housing is the lack of adequate income. To help address this root cause of homelessness, the County has provided funding for a Career Navigator, through the Department of Economic and Workforce Development. The Career Navigator will work primarily at the shelters and focus solely on employment.
The Homeless Roundtable is close to completing implementation plans for each strategy. These plans include goals, action steps, planned partnerships, outcomes and performance measures and plans for resource allocation. These plans will serve as the pathway to preventing and reducing homelessness.
For questions regarding the plan and future efforts, please contact Sue DeSantis, Homeless Services Administrator, Baltimore County Department of Planning, 410-887-2886.