The Baltimore County Master Plan 2020 advocates for strengthening and sustaining vibrant communities. An important component of a vibrant community is one with a housing stock that is safe and secure for all citizens. Providing housing to those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless is achieved through efforts that track, prevent and end homelessness.
Baltimore County Emergency Housing Voucher Program
The American Rescue Plan Act was passed by Congress, appropriating approximately 70,000 Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHVs), totaling $5 billion nationally. Of this total award, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has allocated 62 EHVs to the Baltimore County Department of Housing and Community Development, to be distributed to members of our community who are the most vulnerable to homelessness.
The vouchers are specifically targeted to assist individuals and families that meet at least one of the following eligibility categories:
- Literally Homeless as defined by HUD
- At risk of Homelessness
- Fleeing, or attempting to flee, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking or human trafficking, or
- Recently homeless or having a high risk of housing instability.
Each individual or family that encounters the homeless services system is in need, but due to the limited number of emergency vouchers awarded, the Continuum of Care (CoC) must ensure resources are prioritized to meet the needs of the most vulnerable. Once documentation has been verified to ensure applicants meet the above eligibility criteria, further prioritization will be given to applicants who meet the following risk categories:
- Those who meet HUD’s definition of Chronically Homeless
- Those who have been involved with the Baltimore County homeless services system the longest
- Those already approved for the Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) waitlist managed by the CoC
- Unaccompanied Homeless Youth (18 to 24)
- Homeless families with young children as defined by HUD
All referrals for the EHV program must originate from the Baltimore County CoC. Vouchers were issued starting in September 2021. If you believe you meet the criteria outlined above, please work with your current homeless services provider to process your EHV application. If you are not currently engaged with a provider and meet the outlined criteria, please call the Coordinated Entry team at 410-887-TIME and you will be connected with a service provider.
If Your Application is Approved
The EHV voucher will be issued and managed by the Baltimore County Office of Housing (BCOH), which serves as the Public Housing Authority (PHA) for the county. Baltimore County began issuing vouchers September 2021 and will continue to do so until all vouchers are issued. The BCOH will be responsible for reviewing your application, certifying program eligibility, conducting annual re-certifications for continued eligibility, verifying the unit you select meets federal Housing Quality Standards and ensuring your landlord receives monthly rental payments.
Shelters and Housing Facilities
The County offers a range of shelter and housing programs to persons in Baltimore County who are homeless. These include emergency shelters, domestic violence shelters, cold and freezing weather shelters, transitional shelters, rapid rehousing and permanent supportive housing.
People seeking access to these services must be referred through the County’s coordinated entry system. Those seeking services for themselves or working to aid others in accessing services should call 410-887-8463.
Baltimore County has five year-round facilities that provide emergency shelter for people who are homeless, providing a total of 473 beds and operating 24 hours a day. The Department of Planning maintains an active oversight role of the shelters while allocating annual funding to non-profit organizations who manage the day-to-day operations of the shelters. All emergency shelters provide up to a 90-day stay with possible extensions where appropriate.
Eastside Family Shelter
Operated by the Community Assistance Network (CAN), the Eastside Family Shelter provides emergency beds for 220 individuals, including single women and families, and operates out of the County-owned Eastern Family Resource Center. Residents receive breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as laundry and shower facilities, and basic needs items. Day programs are provided and include, but are not limited to workshops, case management, housing search assistance, job skills and job search assistance and child development and recreational activities. In addition, support services are provided by other agencies, including but not limited to CAN, Baltimore County Public Schools, the Health Department, Health Care for the Homeless, Workforce Development and several mental health providers.
Eastside Men's Shelter
Operated by the CAN, the Eastside Men's Shelter provides emergency beds for 15 men. It operates out of the County-owned Eastern Family Resource Center. Residents receive breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as laundry and shower facilities, and basic needs items. Supportive services are provided by multiple agencies, including, but not limited to CAN, the Health Department, Workforce Development and several mental health providers.
Night of Peace Family Shelter
Night of Peace is an overnight shelter for families with beds for 28 individuals. It is located in a church in western Baltimore County. Residents receive dinner and breakfast, laundry and shower facilities, and supportive services including case management, housing search assistance, children’s tutoring, recreational activities, linkages to mainstream resources and more in order to assist them in transitioning back into the community.
Sarah's Hope at Hannah More Shelter
Operated by St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore, the Sarah's Hope at Hannah More Shelter provides emergency shelter beds for 85 women and children, operating in a County-owned facility in Reisterstown. Residents receive breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as laundry and shower facilities, case management, parenting classes, housing and budget counseling, life skills classes, and other services. In addition, support services are provided by agencies including, but not limited to Baltimore County Public Schools, the Health Department, Health Care for the Homeless, Workforce Development and several mental health providers.
Westside Men's Shelter
Operated by the CAN, the Westside Men's Shelter provides emergency beds for 125 men. It operates on the grounds of Spring Grove State Hospital in a County-owned building. Residents receive breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as laundry and shower facilities, and basic needs items. Supportive services are provided by multiple agencies, including, but not limited to CAN, Lazarus Caucus, a faith-based organization that provides support with IDs, birth certificates, transportation, clothing, and meal coordination, the Department of Social Services, the Health Department, Workforce Development and several mental health providers.
Eastside Transitional Shelter
Operated by the CAN, the Eastside Transitional Shelter provides transitional shelter for 10 families with children in communal living, with each family having a private room. It operates out of the County-owned Eastern Family Resource Center. The shelter includes common spaces including a kitchen, dining room, meeting and social room, offices and a playroom. Residents may stay for up to a year while they work on such goals as employment, financial stability, child care and education to help them obtain permanent housing. Services provided are case management, tutoring for the children, parenting skills, employment and housing assistance, and counseling.
Operated by St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore, INNterim House provides transitional shelter for 10 families with children in communal living, with each family having a private room. The shelter includes common spaces including a kitchen, dining room, meeting room, social room, offices, lobby, laundry rooms and playrooms. Residents may stay for up to a year while they work on such goals as employment, financial stability, child care and education to help them obtain permanent housing. Services provided are case management, tutoring for the children, parenting skills, employment and housing assistance, and counseling.
Family Crisis Center
Family Crisis Center provides shelter for victims of domestic violence. The shelter has 12 individual sleeping rooms and serves between 29 to 42 women and children, depending on household size. In addition to shelter, meals and other essential services, residents receive therapy, court accompaniment, tutoring, nursing services and various other services to help resident’s gain permanent housing and independence. The shelter provides up to a 90-day stay with possible extensions where appropriate.
TurnAround, Inc. provides shelter for individuals and families who have been victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and sex trafficking. Individuals and families receive a variety of services to help them become stable and move to independence, including trauma therapy, employment and housing search assistance, budgeting, child care, and other services as needed.
The County’s Freezing Weather Shelter Plan is operational from November 1 through April 15 of each year. The County has three freezing weather shelter sites, with all three of the sites being year-round shelters, open 24 hours per day, seven days per week during the period from November 1 through April 15 on evenings when the temperature is expected to reach 32 degrees or below including the wind chill factor.
The shelters will provide additional beds to homeless persons who request assistance and do not present a serious threat to shelter operations. The shelters will open at 6 p.m. and close at 9 a.m. the following morning. Where possible, and as weather predictions indicate consecutive evenings where evening temperatures are likely to be 32 degrees or below, a decision will be made and communicated to have the shelters open for multiple days.
Eastern Family Resource Center
Two of the designated freezing weather shelters are located in the new Eastern Family Resource Center on the east side of County; the Eastside Women and Family Shelter, serving single women and families, and the Eastside Men’s Shelter, serving single men.
Westside Men's Shelter
The third shelter is on the west side of the County and serves men. Individuals are encouraged to call 410-887-8463, listen for the English or Spanish language prompt, and then press Option 1 in order to find out whether these emergency shelters have been activated for the night.
Churches for Streets of Hope
A faith-based organization operates an emergency overnight cold weather shelter for 16 homeless men from early November through April 15 of each year. The shelter is open each night during this time period, regardless of weather conditions. The shelter provides overnight accommodations, meals, case management and linkages to mainstream resources. This year, the shelter will rotate between various churches on the east side of the County.
Arbutus Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH)
Owned and operated by CAN, the Arbutus PSH program provides housing for 13 single women, each with an individual unit equipped with an efficiency kitchen, bathroom and living space. Residents share a common activity space and laundry room. Services include voluntary case management and more.
Owned and operated by Catholic Charities, Hosanna House provides housing for 15 single women, each with an individual sleeping and living space. Residents share a common bathroom, laundry, kitchen, dining and living spaces. Services include voluntary case management.
Owned and operated by United Ministries, Prospect Place provides permanent supportive housing to 12 single men, each with an individual efficiency apartment. Offices and group meeting space is available in order to provide case management and services to residents and a place for residents to interact.
Scattered Site Programs
In addition to the site-based permanent supportive housing programs, scattered site programs, located in apartment units around the County, are operated by St. Vincent de Paul, Prologue, Catholic Charities Community Assistance Network, the Baltimore County Housing Authority, and Aids Interfaith Residential Services.
Rapid Re-Housing Programs, designed to shorten the time individuals and families stay in shelter, assists in identifying and securing housing, and provides case management and time limited rental assistance to participating households. In Baltimore County, rapid re-housing programs are operated by Prologue, Community Assistance Network, St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore, Episcopal Housing Services—Neighbor to Neighbor, Alliance, House of Ruth and the Department of Social Services.
Two Baltimore County agencies, the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and the Department of Social Services (DSS), have the primary responsibility for providing services to the homeless, or those who are at risk of becoming homeless. DHCD employs a Homeless Services Administrator, a Homeless Shelter Coordinator, as well as a manager of the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS).
DHCD also employs a team of grants administrators who, among other duties, oversee significant annual grant funding that goes to various organizations that provide services to the homeless and work to prevent homelessness. A majority of the funding for these programs is provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The County works in partnership with several organizations striving to prevent homelessness and manage services to the homeless. A select list of our partners includes:
- Alliance, Inc.
- Baltimore County Communities for the Homeless (BCCH)
- Baltimore County Department of Health
- Baltimore County Department of Social Services
- Catholic Charities
- Catonsville Emergency Food Ministries
- Community Assistance Network (CAN)
- Community Crisis Center
- Family Crisis Center, Inc.
- Health Care for the Homeless—Baltimore County
- Jewish Community Services
- Maryland Food Bank
- Night of Peace Family Shelter, Inc.
- Saint Vincent de Paul—Innterim House
- Turn Around, Inc.
- United Way of Central Maryland
Plan to End Homelessness
The County envisions a comprehensive housing crisis response system through which homelessness can be prevented and, when this is impossible, episodes of homelessness can be quickly ended. The 10-Year Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness in Baltimore County is designed to identify and align the future homeless support system to meet the distinct needs of people at risk of or experiencing homelessness. The plan sets forth a broad range of coordinated strategies that address multiple issues across the continuum of homelessness. It sets out a framework that will prevent and end homelessness—not just manage it.
The plan integrates and enhances existing community planning efforts and priorities. It will continue to evolve over time as a living document that will guide community efforts to respond to emerging issues related to homelessness in Baltimore County. Learn more about the executive summary, "A Home For All."
We will end homelessness in Baltimore County. We are committed to ending homelessness for all in Baltimore County. We seek to take on the challenge outlined in Opening Doors, the Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness and seek to end family homelessness in 10 years, chronic homelessness in five years and veteran homelessness in five years; and create a path to end all homelessness in our community.
We are committed to the Housing First approach. We believe all persons need and deserve safe, affordable housing. People experiencing homelessness and those who are at risk of homelessness should have accessible, affordable housing, and the supportive services necessary to maintain that housing. People experiencing homelessness and those who are at risk of homelessness should receive coordinated services from various agencies to help them secure and maintain housing, meet their individual and family needs and maximize their independence and integration within the community.
We will foster and encourage innovation. We will embrace new and creative approaches to end the cycle of homelessness, drawing from best practices around the country and our own experiences.
We will come together as a community to implement the plan. The plan will prosper due to the commitment of dedicated Baltimore County community members. To be successful, the plan requires the commitment of County officials, service providers, faith and business leaders, consumers and community members. The plan is a community effort and we will only reach its common goal through joint partnerships and collaboration.
We will be responsive to our community. The plan will be modified over time to meet the changing needs of the community and the needs of the populations served.
We will use data and outcomes to drive our decisions and implementation. Strategic approaches to address homelessness will be driven by current data and will include measurable outcomes to track our progress.
We will create bench marks. We will create and measure benchmarks for implementation of the plan.
We will update our progress annually. During the planning process, we will publish updates of the plan annually.
The Department gathers data from various sources to estimate the extent of homelessness in the County. The Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) is a Congressional mandate for all jurisdictions that receive federal funding for homeless and homeless prevention services. The Baltimore County HMIS is a cooperative community case management tool that allows governmental agencies and non-profit organizations to better serve their homeless clientele.
Federal, state and local government, as well as non-government grantors, use HMIS data to analyze program performance, which will then help determine funding opportunities. More than 30 Baltimore County non-profit organizations and more than 80 Baltimore County homeless or homeless prevention programs utilize HMIS. The County uses Bowman System's ServicePoint software to deliver our HMIS services.