Baltimore County Now
Enjoy the Video Challenge
In the spirit of Bobby’s Burger Palace, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz invites Chef Bobby Flay to the newest BBP restaurant to create a signature Towson Burger using made-in-Baltimore County ingredients.
Check out the video for the burger challenge and see Bobby’s Burger Palace, which just opened at the Towson Square entertainment center.
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and clients celebrated the grand opening of the modern 154-bed, 15,000 square-foot building, which replaces an outdated facility and incorporates functional amenities to better help residents receive the services they need and work toward independent living.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.”
Regional Transportation and Transit Study to be Completed in 90 Days
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, who also serves as Chair of the Baltimore Metropolitan Council (BMC), is requesting that BMC staff study, analyze and make recommendations on how to effectively manage the region’s transportation challenges.
In light of the recent and significant changes in State transportation policy, and a multi-billion dollar re-direction of transportation funding from the Baltimore Red Line project to the State’s more rural counties, Kamenetz is directing the BMC to analyze ways to implement a strategy to improve mass transit throughout the Baltimore region. The County Executive is requesting that the study be completed within the next ninety days.
“Our regional leaders had selected the Red Line as the number one priority for mass transit, and secured coveted federal funding," said Kamenetz. "If the governor eliminates construction of the Red Line, we must identify alternative ideas that will reduce traffic congestion and travel times, while improving transportation access. Just saying no is not a transportation solution. We need to make it more convenient for people in this region to get to work without using an automobile."
Kamenetz will ask the professional staff of the BMC to consider all transportation options for the region, as well as the consequences of the failure to fund the Red Line, including potential reimbursement to the federal government. Federal Transit Administration records indicate that $61 million in federal funds from various FTA programs have been awarded to the Baltimore Red Line and Maryland Purple Line projects for planning and design work, and repayment of federal funds might be required under the terms of each grant.
"Ninety-nine percent of the current Red Line funds were redistributed to jurisdictions that would not provide transportation relief to the Baltimore region," continued Kamenetz. "Waiting another decade to implement a comprehensive transportation strategy for the region is not acceptable.”
Earlier this summer, the BMC completed its Regional Plan for Sustainable Development. One of the key recommendations in that report was to “implement a more comprehensive transit network.” The full report is available at http://www.opportunitycollaborative.org/assets/RPSD_Final_June_2015.pdf?ae56d8
“The BMC has worked very hard on regional transportation issues and looks forward to continuing our work with state, federal and local partners to make substantive recommendations as to the next steps needed to implement a 21st century mass transit system in the Baltimore region,” said Michael B. Kelly, Executive Director of the BMC. “Strong regional transit systems are a cornerstone of strong regional economies.”
“Solving the region’s transportation issues must be a priority,” said Don Fry, President and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee. “I applaud the County Executive for taking a regional approach to the review of these complex issues.”