The social safety net in our country has plenty of holes in it. Fortunately, some of those holes are mended by the likes of the Harford Family House.
Based in Aberdeen, the organization has been providing transitional, or temporary, shelter for homeless families with children for 25 years.
During that quarter century, Harford Family House has become has become Harford County's largest provider of such shelter, yet it struggles to keep up with the demand. Last year, 765 requests for service had to be turned down. This year, the number is even higher, the organization's leaders say.
In the United States, homelessness isn't always easy to identify. Certainly, people who set up tents in secluded areas are the most noticeable members of the homeless population in these parts, or even in more urban areas such as Baltimore. Still, others end up doing things like living out of their cars, or finding other ways to make due.
Harford Family House focuses on giving those whom it assists a chance to have a roof over their heads while they get on more sound financial footing, with the goal of eventually moving into their own homes.
"We are not just trying to house people. They work. If they don't work, they don't stay," Joyce Duffy, the group's director, told The Aegis recently.
As such, the organization has found a way to deal with an aspect of homelessness. Certainly there are homeless people whose needs are vastly different, but for those with young children who are down on their luck and are largely able and willing to work, Harford Family House provides a place to begin life anew.
Though it would be nice if the organization were able to find a way to eliminate the problem of homelessness altogether, that's not likely to happen. It's nice to know, therefore, that Harford Family House is making efforts to grow to keep up with the demand. You never know who may need the group's assistance next.