100,000 Homes Campaign Places First Client
Gina C*, 58, whose name has been changed for privacy, has been in and out of homeless shelters for several years. Most recently, she has been staying at Wilkins Avenue Women’s Assessment Center, an emergency shelter run by Interfaith Works in Rockville.
As of January 6, Gina will have a home to call her own when she moves into Cordell Place, a Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless (MCCH) permanent supportive housing program.
MCCH is a community-based nonprofit organization, a leading provider of permanent housing, Safe Havens housing, emergency shelter and supportive services for people experiencing homelessness. MCCH programs serve over 1600 men, women and children each year.
During the first week of November last year, around 300 county staff, community members and public servants volunteered to help during “registry week” where volunteers got up before the sunrise at 4 a.m. and hit the ground running to survey and register the county’s homeless on the street as well as in jails, hospitals and shelters.
The goal was to get a grasp of the issue and include them in a list of individuals that need assistance finding permanent homes.
Using the Vulnerability Index survey, volunteers interviewed 369 homeless individuals including those on the streets, in the woods, and in shelters during the Campaign’s Registry Week held this past November.
The Vulnerability Index gathers information based on research findings that certain medical conditions place homeless individuals at a high risk of death while experiencing homelessness.
Further research indicates that persons experiencing homelessness have a 25 year shorter life expectancy than those who are housed. The 369 individuals surveyed in Montgomery County reported a total of 677 inpatient hospitalizations in the past year and 159, almost half, were identified as medically vulnerable and will be at risk of death if they stay homeless.
Gina ranked high on the Vulnerability Index survey and suffers from serious medical conditions including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
“MCCH may not have been able to house Gina if it wasn’t for the compassionate volunteers who committed themselves to identifying the County’s most medically vulnerable homeless individuals,” says MCCH Executive Director Susie Sinclair-Smith. “Thanks to these volunteers, Gina is able to start rebuilding her life and get the medical supports she needs in a stable and safe environment.”
Campaign volunteers comprise of members of the nonprofit, and government sectors, in addition to county residents compelled by the cause. “And the dedicated commitment and leadership shown by the Montgomery County Executive and Council has been key to our success,” says Sinclair-Smith.
Now that chronically homeless, medically frail individuals have been surveyed and prioritized according to vulnerability, the next critical phase for the Montgomery County 100,000 HOMES Campaign begins—securing permanent housing and supportive services for the rest of the medically vulnerable individuals identified.
Last month, the Montgomery County Council approved an FY 14 special appropriation of over $640,000 to provide permanent housing with supportive services for 15 additional homeless individuals, identified as the most vulnerable. This funding will provide subsidies for rental assistance and utility costs as well as intensive services such as case management, medical and behavioral health services.
County Council President Craig Rice said the County must take steps to help solve a continuing problem.
“This County has done many things over the years to help address our homeless population,” said Council President Rice. “The 100,000 HOMES Campaign targets a special segment of this population—a population that has been difficult to reach. Through this program, and the steps that are being put in place, we now have a better chance of letting them tell us their needs and then directly working to finding housing for these most vulnerable people.”
“From the beginning of the Montgomery County 100,000 HOMES campaign our goal was to house homeless individuals who are the most medically vulnerable,” said Councilmember George Leventhal. “To see Gina in a home of her own is a miraculous first step towards creating stability in her life.”
“Montgomery County is committed to meeting the needs of all those men, women, and families in need of shelter,” said County Executive Ike Leggett. “No one should suffer for lack of a roof over their heads. I’m proud to support the 100,000 HOMES campaign.”
The Montgomery County Council will hold a public hearing at 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 3, regarding a special appropriation of $649,325 to the Fiscal Year 2014 County Government operating budget that would be spent by the Department of Housing and Community Affairs to find permanent supportive housing for medically vulnerable, chronically homeless individuals. Call 240.777.7910 […]
Hundreds of volunteers spent a week canvasing county streets, forests, metro stations and bus stops in the middle of the night looking for homeless individuals. The goal was to identify vulnerable homeless people that can be recipients of county services. Visit our PEG partner County Cable Montgomery to view more of its local programming.
Members of the Montgomery County Council are urging residents to volunteer during the week of Nov. 3 – 8 as Montgomery County joins more than 200 communities nationwide in the 100,000 Homes Campaign. The campaign seeks to reach out to the chronically homeless, especially those who are medically vulnerable, to assess their needs and try […]