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County Officials and Community Partners Remember Homeless Individuals; Launch Effort to Address Family Homelessness

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, July 18, 2018

County officials and non-profit partners were joined today by Councilmember George Leventhal and faith leaders to memorialize homeless individuals who have died in the past year.  Joining Leventhal were Councilmembers Tom Hucker, Sidney Katz and Craig Rice.  Following the memorial service, County officials launched a community-wide effort to end homelessness for families with children by 2020.

 

”Sadly, today memorializes individuals who died while homeless, or who died soon after being placed in housing. These people mattered. Each one of them had a name, and each one was important to community members who cared about them. Homelessness is not just about statistics and aggregates. It is about people who survive from day to day under conditions that no one should have to endure,” said Councilmember George Leventhal, chair of the Council’s Health and Human Services Committee.  “Today, we rededicate ourselves to the alleviation of misery and to providing stable, permanent housing for those who suffer.”

 

At the event, officials announced a community-wide campaign to end homelessness for families with children by 2020.  The @HomeTogether plan is spearheaded by the Interagency Commission on Ending Homelessness (ICH).  In the past 12 months, Montgomery County has served more than 600 families in the homeless system.  This includes more than 1,800 children.  The strategies of @HomeTogether include new and enhanced programs to better engage families early, when they first are at risk of homelessness and better targeted resources to provide rental assistance to families who are at risk of losing their housing.  For families who enter the emergency family shelter, there will be more integration between agencies to reduce the amount of time that families spend in the shelter placement.

 

In 2017, the ICH launched Inside (Not Outside), an initiative aimed at ending chronic homelessness in Montgomery County.  Nearly 400 individuals were identified as chronically homeless and Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services is working with non-profit providers in the community, such as Bethesda Cares, Catholic Charities, Coalition for the Homeless and Interfaith Works to identify permanent supportive housing for these individuals.  Chronic homelessness is defined as someone who has either lived on the streets for one year or longer, or has experienced at least four episodes of homelessness in the last three years (totaling 12 months), and has a disability.  To date, 385 chronically homeless individuals have been placed in permanent supportive housing.

 

“The Inside (Not Outside) initiative refined the County’s system through coordination and leveraging resources, allowing us to better assist our most vulnerable neighbors. Equipped with lessons learned and a streamlined infrastructure, we are confident that @HomeTogether will be a similar success—not only for the County, but for the families and children who will thrive thanks to the stability of housing and services,” said Amy Horton-Newell, co-chair of the ICH.

 

In the annual Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ Point-in-Time survey conducted in January 2018, there were 840 individuals experiencing homelessness in Montgomery County and 85 families with children.

 

A website developed last year,  www.montgomerycountymd.gov/homelessness,  includes information about services for the homeless and data and progress made. 

 

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Release ID: 18-623
Media Contact: Mary Anderson 240-777-6534