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Howard's Grassroots cold weather shelter set to open Monday

The 12th season of Howard County's Grassroots cold weather shelter program is set to start Monday.

The shelter, housed on a rotating basis by county faith communities, was started to serve people who are unable to find emergency shelter when the Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center is full.

Last year, 87 people benefited from the cold weather shelter program, including 10 children. Shelter residents can receive services during their stay, including assistance with food stamps and medical care, case management referrals, resume and tax return preparation, and getting a Social Security card.

The shelter will operate through March 30.

This year, 16 worship communities will each host the shelter for one- to two-week periods. Volunteers will provide meals, transportation, clothes, medicine and laundry services, and Grassroots provides on-site staff, management and coordination.

This year's participating congregations are Atholton Seventh-day Adventist Church, Bethany United Methodist Church, Bridgeway Community Church, Christ Memorial Presbyterian Church, The Church at Covenant Park, Columbia Community Church, First Presbyterian Church of Howard County, Glen Mar United Methodist Church, Grace Community Church, Kittamaqundi Community Church, Linden-Linthicum United Methodist Church, Owen Brown Interfaith Center, St. John Baptist Church, St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Paul's Catholic Church and Temple Isaiah.

Grassroots, located on Freetown Road in Columbia, operates Howard County's only emergency shelter for homeless men, women and families, as well as the Grassroots Day Resource Center.

The nonprofit also operates a 24-hour crisis intervention service, staffed by counselors who field calls to its 24-hour hot line and see walk-in clients in need of immediate counseling. As part of its crisis intervention services, Grassroots also operates the county's Mobile Crisis Team, which responds to family emergencies.

Call 410-531-6006 or go to grassrootscrisis.org for more information on available services.

—The Baltimore Sun

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