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Kamenetz Announces Ten-Year Plan to Prevent and Reduce Homelessness

Towson, Maryland (June 26, 2014) – Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced today that the County is taking a new approach to addressing homelessness by focusing on seven key strategies that have proven to be effective in areas around the country. At the future site of Prospect Place Permanent Supportive Housing in Rosedale, he outlined the plan to about 75 homeless service providers and advocates.

"A Home For All" – Baltimore County's Ten-Year Plan to Prevent and Reduce Homelessness, focuses on these strategies:

  1. Reconfigure the Crisis Response System
    Expand on the current coordinated assessment system and retool the emergency shelter system.

  2. Targeted Prevention Assistance
    Focus prevention services on those most at risk of homelessness through careful selection and connection to mainstream resources.

  3. Rapid Re-Housing
    Create a housing first approach that combines affordable and permanent housing with supportive services.

  4. Accessing Mainstream and Community Resources
    Increase connections to mainstream resources in order to create a means for housing and self-sufficiency.

  5. Permanent and Supportive Housing
    Create new permanent supportive housing units countywide.

  6.  Improved Data and Outcome Measures
    Build on existing performance measurement structure through the creation of systemwide data standards and reporting requirements.

  7. Resource Allocation
    Align funding sources around common outcomes including housing and supportive services.

"We are committed to realizing the goal of preventing and reducing homelessness, and are providing more than $530,000 in additional funding for Fiscal Year 15 to begin to implement a number of the Ten-Year Plan strategies," Kamenetz said.

The County, in coordination with Baltimore County Homeless Roundtable, is working to develop action plans, implementation timelines and performance measures for each of the seven strategies. They are tasked by the County Executive with implementing the plan and assuring that the County is moving forward toward the reduction and duration of homelessness in Baltimore County.

On any given night, more than 550 men, women and children are housed in homeless shelters or living on the streets and in encampments in areas around Baltimore County. The County's Homeless Screening Unit, housed in the Department of Social Services, receives up to 40 calls per day from individuals requesting shelter. There are never enough shelter beds to meet this need.

"Homelessness is a complex issue that requires more than a one size fits all approach," said County Council Chair Cathy Bevins. "This comprehensive plan really addresses the many root causes of homelessness."

Plan Development

The County conducted a comprehensive planning process to address homelessness in Baltimore County and to bring the County's homeless service system into alignment with national best practices and federal regulatory changes. The process, which was facilitated by the County in coordination with the Corporation for Supportive Housing, was funded by the United Way of Central Maryland and Baltimore County Communities for the Homeless.

A national team was recruited including representatives from the Corporation for Supportive Housing, the National Alliance to End Homelessness and the Virginia Alliance to End Homelessness. This team offered a national perspective on the importance of ten-year planning in the area of homelessness and engaged local experts in order to determine the gaps in services and potential solutions in the areas of social issues, income, housing, health, transportation and advocacy. 

The resulting plan, authored by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, was created with input from a diverse group of over 60 local and regional stakeholders from the public and private sectors, and included input from a Consumer Advisory Council made up of persons who were homeless at that time or had been homeless.

Prospect Place—an Example of the Permanent Supportive Housing Approach

The announcement of the Ten-Year Plan was held at the future site of Prospect Place to demonstrate an example of the permanent and supportive housing strategy. The Baltimore County Department of Planning and Baltimore County Department of Health and Human Services have partnered with Episcopal Housing Corporation and United Ministries, who have purchased the property, will complete the required renovations and will provide the necessary programming. Funding for this project has been made available, in part, from a grant from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development as a result of the National Mortgage Loan Servicing Practices Settlement. 

Prospect Place will feature 12 efficiency apartments for chronically homeless single adults and will include on-site case management to increase the residents' self-determination and independence, enabling them to become more self-supporting and remain in a stable housing situation. Residents will be allowed to remain indefinitely, although many will reach a goal of complete self-sufficiency by obtaining independent permanent housing. 

When construction of Prospect Place is complete this fall, Baltimore County will have three such programs, including one in Arbutus and one in Edgemere.