County Launches 24/7 Homeless Information Line to Help the Most Vulnerable
The County’s Department of Health and Human Services, in partnership with EveryMind, has launched a 24/7 Homeless Information Line, with trained specialists to provide information on County homeless services and shelter resources. Callers can also provide information about the location of individuals in the community experiencing homelessness. The reports will be forwarded to community outreach partners who will attempt to locate the individual and offer support and resources. The information line number is 240-907-2688.
“The new information line will further our commitment to making sure that vulnerable residents in our community have access to services and resources and that the public to has a way to report individuals who may need services so that we can offer resources to them,” said County Executive Marc Elrich.
“Launching an information line is vital to ensuring that community members experiencing homelessness have a direct connection to life-saving resources. Knowing where to receive a warm meal, how to access income assistance programs, and finding housing are all key components to eradicating homelessness in Montgomery County. This collaborative effort with our nonprofit service providers will ensure that we continue leading the nation in protecting the most vulnerable in our community,” said Councilmember Evan Glass, the Council’s Lead on Homelessness and Vulnerable Communities.
The homeless system in Montgomery County has several components to it. A network of private nonprofit groups manages the day-to-day operations of shelters with a combination of federal, state and County funding. The shelters include year-round emergency beds for single adults at three locations in Rockville (one men’s emergency shelter and two women’s shelters). There are also emergency shelter beds for families with children at three locations in the community. Additional families are served through the County’s domestic violence shelter. During hypothermia season (November 1 to March 31), additional emergency shelter space is available.
Montgomery County was one of the first communities to reach “functional zero” for veterans’ homelessness in December 2015. Since January 2015, Montgomery County has permanently ended homelessness for 148 veterans.
In 2017, the County’s Interagency Commission on Ending Homelessness (ICH) launched “Inside (NotOutside)” an effort to end chronic homelessness and to date 408 individuals experiencing chronic homelessness have been placed in permanent housing. Chronic homelessness is defined as an individual 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 and has a disability.
AtHomeTogether is the latest initiative, aimed at ending and preventing homelessness for families with children and for youth. The plan is spearheaded by the Interagency Commission on Ending Homelessness (ICH). The strategies of AtHomeTogether include new and enhanced programs to better engage families early, when they are first 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 shelter placement.
The County’s goal is to make “homelessness in Montgomery County rare, brief and one time only for all residents.” Partners in the effort include non-profit providers in the community:
• Bethesda Cares
• Catholic Charities
• City of Gaithersburg
• Community Ministries of Rockville, Inc.
• Cornerstone Montgomery
• Dorothy Day Place
• The Dwelling Place