Baltimore County Now
Includes Expanded Homeless and Transitional Shelters
Dozens of homeless advocates and health service providers cheered this morning as Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz led a ceremonial groundbreaking to mark the official start of construction for a much needed replacement for the County’s Eastern Family Resource Center (EFRC).
The new $26 million, 80,000 square-foot, three-floor facility will replace the outdated Eastern Family Resource Center. Both are located on the campus of Medstar Franklin Square Medical Center. The new building is anticipated to open the spring of 2017.
“The reality is, the homeless among us are not simply strangers down on their luck—they are somebody’s father, somebody’s sister, somebody’s child,” said Kamenetz. “We must recognize them not as strangers, but as neighbors. And we must acknowledge the fact that, at any moment, things could fall apart in our own lives, and it could be us seeking shelter or living on the street.”
The County is funding $16 million of the cost of the new facility, with Medstar Health providing $5 million in support, along with a commitment of $5 million from the State of Maryland. The architect is Chris Parts of Hord-Coplan-Macht and the building contractor is CAM Construction.
Baltimore County and MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center negotiated a land swap whereby the land housing the current Eastern Family Resource Center will be incorporated into the hospital campus. MedStar gave the County a 3.9-acre parcel of property, about a block away from the current center, which is currently being used for hospital staff parking.
Expanded Shelter Operations
The current Eastern Family Resource Center houses a shelter for women and families, as well as an array of programs operated through the Baltimore County Department of Health and Human Services. The new facility will add two homeless shelters (men’s and transitional) and provide space for Healthcare for the Homeless.
“This facility will be so much more than mere brick and mortar to this community,” said Director of the Baltimore County Department of Health and Human Services Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch. “Some will call it home, while others will view it as a place to receive medical care. But we all will see it as a beacon of hope, health and healing.”
The new Eastern Family Resource Center will include three shelter operations, including an enhanced shelter for women and families, serving up to 250 persons; a transitional shelter program for women and families, with a capacity of up to 38 persons; and a new shelter for men, with a capacity of up to 50 persons. The expanded center supports the County’s 10-Year Plan to Prevent and Reduce Homelessness.
The women and family shelter will have separate sleeping spaces for single women and families, as well as sleeping spaces for men that utilize the shelter as part of a family and for single dads with their children. The shelter will include child care and child development space, as well as an outdoor play area for children. Programming will be enhanced as a result of space designed for workshops and educational activities. The shelter will also allow for enhanced program collaboration with the addition of flexible office space for partnering agencies.
For those families that require additional time to meet the goal of self-sufficiency, a third floor transitional shelter is included in the design. This shelter will house approximately 38 persons, with each family housed in a private sleeping room, with shared bathroom and kitchen facilities.
Expansion of Health Services
The new building will also allow the County to expand health services to persons who are homeless through its partnership with Health Care for the Homeless (HCH). Expanded space for HCH will allow them to increase the capacity and scope of services to homeless persons in Baltimore County, including expanded primary care, behavioral health and supportive services.
The new building will allow the Department of Health to meet the growing needs of the community in a space that is thoughtfully designed for enhanced program collaboration. The building will house multiple Health Department functions, including Family Planning, Dental Services, the Women, Infants and Children Supplemental Nutrition Program, Immunizations, Substance Abuse Treatment, a Sexually Transmitted Infections clinic and the Infants and Toddlers Program.
Westside Men’s Shelter Opened this July
This past July, the County Executive also opened a new 54-bed, $3.4 million shelter homeless shelter for men that incorporates functional amenities to better help residents receive the services they need and work toward independent living. The facility is operated and staffed by Community Assistance Network.
Owings Mills and Towson Development, Responsible Pet Ownership, Lead Paint Hazards and Resources
The November edition of Baltimore County’s half-hour cable television public affairs show, “Hello Baltimore County,” highlights the following topics:
Update on Owings Mills and Towson – County Executive Kevin Kamenetz shares the latest on major development and upgrades underway in Towson and Owings Mills.
Responsible Pet Ownership – County veterinarian Dr. Melissa Jones shares resources for pet owners and adoption opportunities for all (with a special Pets for Vets promotion all month for veterans). Spoiler alert – adorable kittens co-star in this segment!
Lead Paint Poisoning – Did you know that any pre-1978 home could have dangerous lead paint? Get the facts and learn about resources to protect your family.
View streaming video of the Hello Baltimore County shows.
In addition to online access, the program runs several times per week on Cable Channel 25, in Baltimore County, at the following times:
- Mondays: 1:30 p.m., 6 p.m.
- Tuesdays: Noon, 9 p.m.
- Wednesdays: 11 a.m., 4 p.m., 10 p.m.
- Thursdays: 1 p.m., 8 p.m.
- Fridays: 11 a.m., 6 p.m.
- Saturdays: 10 a.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m.
- Sundays: 10 a.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m.
Open Filing Period: September 1 to October 15
Baltimore County’s Comprehensive Zoning Map Process (CZMP) now starts online. A new web-based platform allows applicants to initiate a request to change zoning maps by pre-filing online.
The platform gives citizens more convenient access to information, reduces the amount of time needed to file a rezoning request, and increases the county’s processing efficiency.
The open filing period for changes to Baltimore County zoning maps runs from September 1 to October 15, 2015. The Web address for pre-filing a zoning change request and information about the CZMP can be found at www.baltimorecountymd.gov/czmp
CZMP applicants will now register and complete the first step of a rezoning application online. The application includes instructions for finalizing a zoning change request, which includes an in-person visit to the Department of Planning during the open filing period. Planning staff will provide personal assistance as requested to individuals without Internet access.
Baltimore County’s Comprehensive Zoning Map Process occurs every four years, allowing Baltimore County property owners, businesses and community organizations the opportunity to petition the County Council to request a zoning change on a specific property. The resulting decisions have the potential to impact neighborhoods, businesses and residents throughout Baltimore County.