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Baltimore County Now

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Keyword: department of planning

Advances County’s 10-Year Plan to Prevent and Reduce Homelessness

Men caught in the cycle of homelessness will be much better able to work toward self-sufficiency thanks to Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz’s investment in a new $3.4 million shelter for homeless men on the campus of Spring Grove Hospital Center in Catonsville.

“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,” Kamenetz said. “The opening of this new site for the Westside Men’s Shelter represents a significant step forward in our 10-year Plan to Prevent and Reduce Homelessness.”

Kamenetz and nearly a hundred homeless service providers, advocates and clients celebrated the grand opening of the modern 154-bed, 15,000 square-foot building, which replaces an outdated facility and incorporates functional amenities to better help residents receive the services they need and work toward independent living. The facility is operated and staffed by the nonprofit Community Assistance Network.

About the New Westside Shelter

The new shelter is designed to address barriers to independent living that homeless men may encounter. It includes:

  • a resource and conference room with computer stations to allow residents to search for employment and housing, as well as space to hold workshops and classes
  • a large fenced and gated garden area in the back of the shelter in which staff and residents will plant and grow their own fruit and vegetables
  • a social room with new furniture, bookcases, and a television
  • a commercial kitchen with new appliances and a spacious dining room
  • a sizeable laundry room
  • and, an exam room to be used by Health Care for the Homeless and the Department of Health and Human Services, so that residents can get important health services on-site.

The shelter, designed by Rubeling and Associates and built by North Point Builders, incorporates many “green” features, qualifying it for LEED SILVER certification.

County to Break Ground this Fall on a New Shelter for Women and Families

In addition to this new shelter for men, the County plans to build a new $25 million, 80,000 square-foot Eastern Family Resource Center in Rosedale that will include:

  • an enhanced shelter for women and families serving up to 250 people
  • a transitional shelter program for women and families with a capacity of up to 38 people
  • and, a new shelter for men with a capacity of up to 50 people.

The building, slated for completion in March of 2017, will house various Health Department functions that support shelter residents, and will also include expanded space for Health Care for the Homeless.

Homelessness in Baltimore County

In 2014, Baltimore County received more than 6,600 requests for shelter, representing more than 3,100 individual households. On any given night, more than 745 men, women and children are housed in homeless shelters or living on the streets and in encampments throughout Baltimore County.

“A Home for All,” Baltimore County’s 10-year Plan to Prevent and Reduce Homelessness in our communities, was created with input from a diverse group of more than 60 local and regional stakeholders from both public and private sectors. It includes seven key strategies that have proven to be effective in reducing homelessness.

The plan focuses on systemic changes, preventing homelessness where possible, and rapidly rehousing people in shelters and permanent and supportive housing. The plan uses relevant data and better leverages existing resources to move people toward independence.

County to Create Community Sports Fields at Former Shelter Site

The site of the former homeless shelter will be transformed into a $1.3 million recreational site featuring an artificial turf field, lights and open space for the Catonsville community on the grounds of Spring Grove Hospital Center. Construction on these sports fields is slated to begin next spring and be completed by the Fall of 2016.

“This modern new facility is an important step forward in the County’s comprehensive plan to address homelessness by targeting its root causes,” said 1st District Councilman Tom Quirk. “In the Catonsville community, we also eagerly await the new recreation fields that will be created on the site of the former shelter.”


Plan is to Better Connect Neighborhoods to Downtown Towson

More and more people are riding bicycles all around town. The Towson Spokes bicycle improvement project will help connect neighborhood cyclists to the Towson Loop bikeway, which circles the downtown Towson business district.  From the Loop, cyclists can access shops, restaurants, County government offices and the Towson Branch of the Baltimore County Public Library. 

The Baltimore County Departments of Planning and Public Works are holding an open house meeting to present plans for signing and marking major streets in the Towson area with bicycle improvements. The suggested improvements range from bike route signs to pavement markings and bike lanes.

Residents and business owners are encouraged to attend and provide feedback   Thursday, July 16 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Towson Library Meeting Room, 320 York Road, Towson, Maryland 21204.

More information about the project is available at www.baltimorecountymd.gov/bikeproject.

The Baltimore County Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee identified the Towson Spokes project as a priority for implementation, since it supports the existing Towson Loop bikeway. Funding for the Towson Spokes project is provided through a grant from the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Bikeways Program.  

For more information, contact Kathy Schlabach at 410-887-3521 or kschlabach@baltimorecountymd.gov .


photo of Pikes Theater signDavid Green
Division Chief, Neighborhood Response Team
Baltimore County Department of Planning

Thriving small businesses strengthen our traditional commercial areas and bring new shopping, restaurants and services near neighborhoods. Baltimore County’s Neighborhood Response Teams focus on connecting small businesses with the resources they need to create large community impact. Here a few recent successes from the past three months.

The Pikes Theatre had not shown a movie since 1983. Today, the Pikes is once again a destination for movie goers, thanks, in part, to Baltimore County’s Commercial Revitalization Program.  A building improvement loan from the County helped Ira Miller, an experienced local movie theatre operator, to reclaim the art deco building as a community movie theatre.  With an upgraded menu at the attached Pikes Diner, Pikesville’s traditional commercial corridor is brimming with new activity. 

The Green Turtle, a well established locally owned restaurant in Towson, now features the Turtle Shell, a rooftop bar and grill with expansive views of downtown Towson. Thanks to public and private financing from the restaurant owners, a local bank, Baltimore County, and the Maryland Neighborhood BusinessWorks program, the Green Turtle can be more competitive with national restaurants coming to Towson Square, a new entertainment venue just a short walk from the Greene Turtle. Towson Square will feature a 15-screen Cinemark movie theatre, eight new restaurants, and a parking garage.

Colin’s Seafood and Grill, a locally owned upscale, sit down restaurant was a just what the Liberty Road community wanted. The County’s Neighborhood Response Team connected the owners to the State’s Neighborhood BusinessWorks Program, which provided funding to build-out the 146 seat restaurant in the Randallstown Shopping Center.  Colin’s opened this fall and is now a Randallstown favorite.

Towson, Pikesville and the Liberty Road Corridor are three of the County’s 16 designated Commercial Revitalization Districts, areas that are often the front doors to many well established neighborhoods in Baltimore County. Neighborhood Response Teams in the County’s Department of Planning work closely with business and community organizations to identify opportunities for small businesses to grow and sustain these traditional commercial areas.

Is your business in a Commercial Revitalization District? For maps and more information visit our website Baltimore County’s Neighborhood Response Teams and Commercial Revitalization Program.     



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