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$26 Million Facility Includes Expanded Homeless and Transitional Shelters, Community Health Services 

Dozens of homeless advocates and health service providers cheered this morning as Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz led a ceremonial ribbon-cutting to mark the grand opening of the County’s new and improved Eastern Family Resource Center (EFRC).

“I believe that the true measure of a government is how we treat the downtrodden - those who are most vulnerable,” Kamenetz said. “We consider it a vital responsibility to provide a social safety net for people who need it, and that is why my administration invests about $40 million each year in our social safety net, including building two modern full-service homeless shelters.”

“This new facility will help countless people in eastern Baltimore County, whether they are homeless or need low-cost health and dental services for their family,” said 6th District Councilwoman Cathy Bevins.

Expanded Shelter Operations

The new $26 million, 80,000 square-foot, three-floor facility is located on the campus of Medstar Franklin Square Medical Center and replaces an outdated facility. The former EFRC housed 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 EFRC replaces and expands the previous shelter for women and families that served 250 people, and offers three shelter operations, including 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 expanded center supports the County’s 10 Year Plan to Prevent and Reduce Homelessness. The shelters are operated and staffed by Community Assistance Network in partnership with Baltimore County.

The new shelter space in the EFRC was designed specifically to meet the needs of those who will be served in the shelters, including child care and child development space, as an outdoor play area and space for workshops and educational activities. The shelter will also allow for enhanced program collaboration with the addition of flexible office space for partnering agencies.

Healthy Partnerships

The County is funding $16 million of the cost of the new facility, with Medstar Health providing $5 million in support, along with $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 previous Eastern Family Resource Center is incorporated into the hospital campus and MedStar gave the County the 3.9-acre parcel of property for the new center.

Expanded Health Services

The new building allows 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 houses 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. 

The new facility also allows the County to expand health services to people who are homeless through its partnership with Health Care for the Homeless. The expanded space allows them to increase the capacity and scope of services to homeless people in Baltimore County, including expanded primary care, behavioral health and supportive services.

Westside Men’s Shelter Opened in July of 2015

In July of 2015, the County Executive Kamenetz 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 also operated and staffed by Community As


by Todd Dolbin, Baltimore County Department of Economic & Workforce Development

Malik was a resident at the Westside Men’s shelter in Catonsville. After long unemployment, he was ready to find a good job, move out of the shelter and move on with his life. His goal: start fresh and pursue a commercial driver’s license.

So where did Malik start? How could Baltimore County help? The first step was a visit to Baltimore County’s Hunt Valley American Job Center, one of three centers serving the County.

With Malik’s career goal in mind, counselors connected him to a commercial driver’s license information session. As with any job, there were deadlines, documentation and applications for the All-State Career program. Malik also needed a current Maryland driver’s license. The pieces were not in place and the deadline for the session passed. But Malik didn’t give up and neither did Baltimore County’s Department of Economic and Workforce Development.  

County career counselors stayed in contact with Malik and encouraged him to compile the required eligibility documents and resolve his driver’s license issue. With the County’s training and career connections, support and coaching, Malik did the work and was accepted into the CDL program, where he completed the written and driving training and received resume and interviewing assistance.

Today, Malik holds a CDL diploma from All-State Career, has passed the Maryland CDL certification exam, and now holds a Maryland Class B license with a passenger endorsement. He is currently pursuing several job leads and looks forward to starting work soon. 

Help with the job of finding a job                                         

So, how about you?  Interested in a career move or jumping back into the workforce?  Has it been a few too many years since you’ve written your resume and interviewed for a job? Not sure where to begin?   

Baltimore County provides guided employment and support resources to help you achieve your own employment goals. Eligible job seekers meet with professional consultants to explore career paths, get referrals to training programs, job fairs and comprehensive online job boards. Join workshops to enhance job seeking skills and work readiness. Take your job search to a convenient American Job Center where you can use computers and printers with on-line access, individual work spaces with telephones, and a variety of job search resource materials to speed your success.

Free workshops for job seekers

Every month, Baltimore County’s American Job Centers in Hunt Valley, Liberty Center and Eastpoint offer free boot camp-style workshops for eligible job seekers.

  • Job Readiness Strategies
  • Basic Computer Strategies
  • Résumé and Cover Letter Strategies
  • Interviewing Strategies
  • Social Media Strategies 

Training scholarships in high demand fields

Get training in the fields where Baltimore County companies are hiring. Occupational training scholarships in these high demand fields are available for eligible job seekers. A Baltimore County career counselor can help you decide if one of these skills enhancement training programs is right for you:  

  • Healthcare
  • Transportation, distribution and logistics
  • Information technology
  • Corporate operations center
  • Manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Business, financial and educational services

Baltimore County stands ready to help you with the job of finding a job. Let’s get to work!


Hundreds Cheer Honorees at Awards Luncheon

At today’s 27th annual Baltimore County Commission on Disabilities Awards ceremony, an enthusiastic crowd helped to recognize the achievements of eleven individuals, employers, advocates and organizations for their outstanding achievements and contributions.             

The Commission on Disabilities provides support and advocacy for County residents with disabilities and works to ensure that County programs, buildings and services are open equally to all persons, regardless of their disabilities.  In addition, the Commission provides resources and referrals on obtaining services not only from the County but through programs offered by the state and federal government. 

“Healthy communities thrive because they have people who care, who get involved and who look out for the needs of their neighbors,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “We are pleased to recognize the efforts of some remarkable people living with disabilities in our communities and the people who help them in their journey.”

This year’s honorees include:

  • Jessica Solomon of Goucher College, winner of the Education Advocate of the Year Award;
  • Kayla Burroughs of Rosedale, winner of the Student of the Year Award;
  • Patricia Lane-Forster of Essex, winner of the Teacher of the Year Award;
  • Amy Smolenski on behalf of PDP Group of Hunt Valley, winner of the Employer of the Year Award;
  • Crystal Brockington of Towson, winner of the Employee of the Year Award;
  • Biliana Borimetchkova of Timonium, winner of the Art Accessibility Award;
  • Mat Rice of Towson, winner of the Statewide Advocate for Change Award;
  • Jennifer Hobbs, Pathfinders for Autism, winner of the Media-Public Awareness Award;
  • George Bollock of Fallston, winner of the Volunteer Award;
  • Richard Gnibus of Middle River, winner of the Disability Advocate Award;
  • Wanda Brown of Dulaney High School, winner of the Chairperson’s Special Award.

A few interesting stories…

Patricia Lane-Forster is an art teacher at Ridge Ruxton High School who serves students who are severely disabled, both intellectually and physically. She finds ways to adapt art projects so that students can complete the work independently, regardless of their ability. For example, she has developed methods through which nonverbal students can communicate color, texture and style preferences. For students with limited mobility, she incorporates robotics into the art class so that every student can make a mark on paper or canvas with the touch of a button.

Mat Rice, an individual with disabilities, has been at the forefront of self-advocacy in the legislature and in teaching other individuals with disabilities about how to advocate for themselves. Rice graduated from the Maryland School for the Blind and Parkville High School and went on to work as the Public Policy Specialist for People on the Go of Maryland. He has been instrumental in advising legislators on issues that affect the quality of life for people with disabilities in Maryland.

George Bollock has been a volunteer with the Oriole Advocates since 1991. He became a chairperson and “cheerleader” for a program known as the Challenger Baseball League, in 2010. The Challenger Baseball Program offers a variety of adapted baseball opportunities for athletes with disabilities. Bullock has provided more than 800 tickets each year for the athletes and their families to enjoy a game at Camden Yards during “Challenger Night.”

Wanda Brown, who teaches an engineering class at Dulaney High School, has led her engineering students through a standard engineering design process to create what is known as “chariot” for a young boy named Chandler who has Cerebral Palsy. The “chariot” is essentially a wheelchair bicycle hybrid that helps him exercise his limbs while being pushed outside in the neighborhood by his parents. This is just the most recent of eight projects for children with disabilities that Dulaney High’s engineering class has completed under Brown’s leadership. 


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017