County Moves Vulnerable Homeless into Permanent Homes (Video)
Montgomery County leaders met with members of the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless and volunteers with the 100,000 Homes campaign to acknowledge the County’s progress in finding permanent housing for medically vulnerable homeless living on County streets.
“The County Council is not going to drop this issue,” said Councilmember George Leventhal during the press conference in the County Office Building on April 8. “We are going to see a real reduction of homeless in Montgomery County.”
The most recent reduction is the announcement that five formerly homeless individuals who were identified as the County’s most medically vulnerable according to the Vulnerability Index were moved into permanent housing in the form of apartment buildings in Silver Spring.
The homeless were identified using a survey during the Montgomery County 100,000 Homes Campaign Registry Week during Nov. 3 through 7 of last year.
Jasper Young, a former homeless man and a client of the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless, is now living on his own through housing assistance given to him through the County.
“I thank God for the people behind me,” he said during the conference. “And because of the work they continue to do, what happened to me won’t happen to other people.”
Council President Craig Rice took part in the registry week, which he said was “eye opening” for him during Tuesday’s press conference.
“There were people living behind a 7/11 I’ve gone to for years,” Rice said. “I never even knew they were there. This needs to change.”
Montgomery County 100,000 Homes Campaign volunteers surveyed 369 individuals during Registry Week, and identified 159 as the most vulnerable individuals who are in urgent need of permanent supportive housing.
“This time last year I never thought we’d be as far along as we are now,” said Susie Sinclair-Smith, Executive Director of the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless.
Since starting the local Campaign in June 2013, a total of 84 of the County’s most vulnerable homeless individuals have been housed, helping bring the national 100,000 Homes Campaign total to more than 91,000. The national Campaign goal is to have 100,000 of the nation’s most vulnerable homeless individuals housed by July 2014.
“You can’t unsee what you see,” Councilmember Leventhal said. “We are not going to forget. I will use whatever time I have left in public office dedicated to helping these vulnerable homeless off the streets.”
If community members would like to volunteer with the Campaign or donate items to help furnish future units, they can email the Campaign at firstname.lastname@example.org.
View the press conference in its entirety below:
See photos from the press conference below: