Council President George Leventhal and Councilmember Steve Silverman -- Chair of the Planning, Housing, and Economic Development Committee -- today announced a $1 million initiative to provide permanent housing and increased access to health care for adults who are homeless.
The initiative will provide $500,000 for rental assistance and case management staff for 50 families and individuals who are homeless. This doubles the number of households currently served in the Partnership for Permanent Housing, an innovative program providing access to permanent affordable housing as well as case management for families in shelters and motels.
In addition, the Councilmembers propose $500,000 to increase access to medical care, including doubling the number of visits to shelters by the Mobile Medical van. The initiative would bolster the two sites that currently provide health care to the homeless – the Gude Men’s Shelter and the Shepherd’s Table – and would add two new sites.
The $500,000 will be dedicated from the proposed $5 million increase for Montgomery Cares, the County’s health program for uninsured persons.
Joining the Councilmembers were Sharan London, Executive Director, Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless; Robert Spector and Sheldon Grossberg of Mobile Med; and Jacki Coyle, Executive Director of Shepherd’s Table. Also attending the news conference was Melonie Campbell, whose family has been able to exit homelessness through the Partnership for Permanent Housing program.
“Children should not have to live in motel rooms,” said Councilmember Silverman. “We need to do what we can locally to make sure that our children have a decent place to live, because the federal government has walked away from its affordable housing obligations.”
“Everyone in Montgomery County ought to have access to a doctor and that includes individuals who are homeless,” said Leventhal, who also chairs the Council’s Health & Human Services Committee.
“The Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless believes that each person is entitled to the dignity of a home,” said London. “We are thrilled to partner with the County to secure a permanent home to over 100 county residents in 50 households while providing services to help them succeed in that housing. This effort is the implementation of essential components of our plan to end homelessness – by increasing the stock of affordable housing, helping people rapidly exit homelessness and increasing access to health care.”
The Councilmembers also announced their support for County Executive Doug Duncan’s budget proposal to provide $500,000 beginning in January, 2007 to develop a new component of the County’s Rental Assistance Program which will provide significant subsidies to very low income households (30% of area median income or $27,100 for a family of four) and who are homeless or have special needs, for example, developmental disabilities, mental illness, or elderly needing assisted living. This budget proposal will serve a broader spectrum of households beyond those who are homeless and will require additional planning prior to implementation.
On January 25, 2006, 1164 individuals and families were homeless in Montgomery County, according to the annual Point in Time Survey, a one day survey of individuals and families who are unsheltered, in emergency shelters, or in transitional housing. This was a 9% increase over the prior year. Of that total, 149 were families with children and 693 were single adults. Based on past analysis, Montgomery County staff estimate that over a one year period, the number of homeless individuals and families is far greater than the one day survey, and can be 3-4 times that number.
The Councilmembers’ proposals will be considered as part of the County Council’s actions this spring on the Fiscal Year 2007 Operating Budget.
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