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Press Releases

County Officials and Community Partners Remember Homeless Individuals

For Immediate Release: Thursday, July 11, 2019

County Executive Marc Elrich was joined today by County Councilmembers Gabe Albornoz, Tom Hucker and Will Jawando, community non-profit partners and faith leaders to memorialize 31 homeless individuals and formerly homeless individuals who have died in the past year. 

”We are a community with many riches but we are also a community where there are individuals and families who do not share in those riches,” said Elrich.  “Sadly, today memorializes individuals who died while homeless, or who died soon after being placed in housing. These people mattered. We should not tolerate conditions that lead one to homelessness and continue to work hard to help those individuals achieve stability in their lives so they can become part of the community and not just an ‘invisible’ person that we pass on the sidewalk or see in our neighborhoods.  These are our neighbors.”

In the annual Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ Point-in-Time survey conducted in January 2019, there were 647 persons experiencing homelessness in Montgomery County and 85 families with children.  Since 2017, there has been a 28 percent decrease in the overall number of persons experiencing homelessness, the most significant decrease in any two-year period since 2009.

"Today we remember and honor precious lives lost in our community. We must continue to be diligent and aggressive in our efforts to eradicate homelessness in our community,” said Councilmember Gabe Albornoz, chair of the Council’s Health and Human Services Committee.  “Much has been accomplished, but much more needs to be done to address mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence and other factors that lead to homelessness."

Montgomery County achieved the goal of ending veteran homelessness in December 2015 and continues to work to maintain functional zero through continual monitoring and tracking.

In 2017, the Interagency Commission on Ending Homelessness (ICH) launched Inside (Not Outside), an initiative aimed at ending chronic homelessness in Montgomery County.  Through the efforts of Montgomery County’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and non-profit providers in the community such as Bethesda Cares, Catholic Charities, Coalition for the Homeless and Interfaith Works,  420 individuals have been placed in permanent supportive housing.

At last year’s memorial service, officials announced the AtHomeTogether plan to end homelessness for families with children by 2020.  In the past year, Montgomery County has served more than 300 families in the homeless system, including more than 250 children. 

“We are committed to making homelessness in Montgomery County rare, brief and one-time only,” said Amanda Harris, chief of DHHS’ Services to End and Prevent Homelessness. “We know that access to safe, stable housing leads to healthier people, better students, lower rates of incarceration, and helps families and individuals integrate with their community.  Our success is dependent on working together with multiple systems like schools, healthcare and the criminal justice system to both prevent people from becoming homeless and rapidly returning families and individuals to permanent housing.”

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

         

Release ID: 19-240
Media Contact: Mary Anderson 240-777-6534 , 301-529-7669