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Keyword: department of planning

Youth Reach Maryland is Part of Statewide Effort to Reduce Homelessness

Baltimore County is seeking to contact and survey young people under age 25 who are struggling with homelessness or unstable housing. For the next two weeks, County Department of Planning staff and their non-profit partners will be taking extra steps to locate youth with unstable housing situations in order to estimate the number of people who make up this vulnerable population and gain a deeper knowledge of the challenges they face.  

The County is participating in a statewide effort, known as Youth Reach Maryland, to contact and survey young people who are homeless or struggling with serious housing issues. This effort has engaged regional partners and seeks to strengthen knowledge of and services to youth under age 25 who are not living with a parent or guardian and face an unstable housing situation that may be viewed as homelessness.   

The County's effort to contact this constituency begins Monday, March 12, and continues through Sunday, March 25. The County Department of Planning and the non-profits Prologue, Inc. and Baltimore County Communities for the Homeless (BCCH) are leading the county effort, working closely with service providers and institutions, including soup kitchens, homeless shelters, libraries, schools, colleges and universities. The County and its partners have assembled a network of people, including youth ambassadors, who will visit key locations, reach out and, hopefully, survey the select youth population over the two-week period.

Advocates for the homeless believe that independent youth and young adults under age 25 who are struggling with housing are often a hidden population that goes uncounted. Youth Reach Maryland seeks to improve the count and deepen knowledge of a unique, challenging constituency. 

Maryland's effort to improve outreach to homeless youth began in 2013, when the legislature made it a priority to improve the frequency and accuracy of counting the state's unaccompanied homeless youth. It established the Task Force to Study Housing and Supportive Services for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth, which recommended a Youth and Young Adult Count of Unaccompanied Homeless. This later became the initiative known as Youth REACH (Reach out, Engage, Assist, & Count to end Homelessness) MD. The state effort is now led by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and coordinated by the University of Maryland School of Social Work.

Those interested in learning more about Baltimore County's Youth Reach effort are encouraged to contact Terri Kingeter at tkingeter@baltimorecountymd.gov or visit the following web links:


County is Nationally Recognized for Effective Growth Management Zoning

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz highlighted the County’s 50 years of success in preserving rural and agricultural lands by directing growth to areas inside the Urban Rural Demarcation Line (URDL), which has held up virtually intact since it was established by the Planning Board in 1967. The URDL, one of the first of its kind in the nation, channels new development in a way that concentrates commercial and residential growth into the existing built environment to protect open space, water quality, agricultural land, scenic views and the natural environment.

“By preserving the integrity of the URDL over the past five decades, we have enhanced the quality of life for everyone in Baltimore County, rather than allowing unchecked suburban sprawl to overtake our rural areas while leaving older communities behind,” Kamenetz said. “We know that preserving forests and rural land is one of the most effective ways to protect our waterways and the drinking water supplies for 1.8 million people in our region.”

A History of Thoughtful Planning and Environmental Preservation

Baltimore County has long been recognized nationally and internationally for its comprehensive land use planning, zoning and preservation programs that preserve open space by guiding development into designated areas within the URDL, resulting in a minimum of costly suburban sprawl and the preservation of environmentally and economically valuable farmland and rural open space.

The URDL benefits existing communities by investing County resources in a cost-effective manner and guiding capital investment into the urban parts of the County and siting costly public amenities like schools, roads, public water and sewer mostly inside the URDL.

In 1965, just prior to the establishment of the URDL, the Valleys Planning Council developed the Plan for the Valleys. That was a precursor to the County’s first Comprehensive Plan in 1975, which identified growth areas in Windlass (now better known as the greater White Marsh area), Mays Chapel, Liberty and Owings Mills. Also in 1975, the County created rural land conservation zoning, designed to protect agriculture and watersheds while allowing some limited growth in rural areas.

“The best outcomes come from collaboration like what took place at the time of the Plan for the Valleys, and we’re still reaping the benefits of that really high-quality planning back when most of the state and country were not thinking about long-range land use planning,” said Teresa Moore, Valleys Planning Council Executive Director.

The URDL set the stage for stabilizing the County’s rural lands and there has been only minimal change to the original demarcation line, even with the open Comprehensive Zoning Map Process (CZMP) every four years. 90 percent of Baltimore County’s population still lives inside the URDL, and two-thirds of its land remains rural. Agriculture is still the largest business land use and Baltimore County is the leading equine county in the state of Maryland. 

“The County Council is ultimately responsible for land use decisions, and my colleagues and I take very seriously our responsibility to be stewards of the land, balancing the need for homes and businesses with critical environmental protections,” said County Council Chair Tom Quirk.

Baltimore County’s first Maryland Environmental Trust land preservation was purchased in 1974, and today, the County is ranked in the top ten jurisdictions nationally in agricultural land preservation with preserved lands and parkland forming a green network that stretches from the Chesapeake Bay to the Piedmont border with Pennsylvania. 


Planning Department Seeks Public Input on Needs and Outlines Application Process 

Baltimore County invites non-profit organizations, government agencies and the general public to a meeting to discuss upcoming funding opportunities and spending priorities for housing and community development programs. The meeting, to be led by the Department of Planning, will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, December 5, 2017, in the Towson Room (ground level) of the Towson Public Library, 320 York Road, Towson, Maryland, 21204.   

Citizens and organizations will be asked to express their views on needs and spending priorities related to housing and community development for the coming fiscal year, 2019, during a public hearing that will begin at 10 a.m. Following the public hearing, County staff will discuss the process through which organizations may apply for grant funding. The bulk of the funding to be discussed is made available by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which allocates funding annually to Baltimore County. HUD funds include Community Development Block Grants and Emergency Solutions Grants. Additional support comes from State and County funding. The County disburses much of this funding through a competitive grant program administered by the Department of Planning.

County staff will also invite interested citizens to learn about and consider joining the Homeless Roundtable, the County's advisory group that helps guide policy on homelessness. The Homeless Roundtable supports the County Continuum of Care and the efforts of Baltimore County government in the allocation of public funds to prevent and reduce homelessness in the County.  

Grant funding opportunities are targeted to:

  • Homeless Services – projects that prevent homelessness or assist those who are currently homeless.
  • Public Services – projects that address the needs of low-income citizens in the area of employment, crime prevention, child care, health and welfare, education, substance abuse, energy conservation or recreational needs.
  • Capital Projects – for the removal of architectural barriers for persons with disabilities.

Generally, one-year grants will range in size from $15,000 to $200,000. Applications are due by 2 p.m. on Tuesday, February 6, 2018. To learn more, visit http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/planning/grants/index.html


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017