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Howard County Times
Howard County

Homelessness is not a Route 1 phenomenon [Letter]

The Feb. 5 editorial "Take solutions to homelessness to where the county's problem arises" is incorrect on both of its main assertions.

Homelessness doesn't "arise" or naturally grow along the Route 1 corridor (except when the county puts low and moderate income people out of their mobile homes.) The Route 1 corridor from Maine to Florida has historically been a place for "transients" who travel with the seasons for warmth and work.

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However, an examination of this paper and its parent company's archives substantiates that there have been significant numbers of homeless in all areas of the county — Sykesville, Ellicott City, Columbia, etc. The archives also show General Growth Properties efforts to ban homeless individuals from the Columbia mall.

The editorial also states all the best existing resources are here. They are clearly not aware that there is no public transportation on or near Guilford Road or that a Multi-Service Center (MSC) was established because folks couldn't get to the county's main facilities. The Grassroots DRC operates three half days a week. The MSC services are similarly "rationed": Social Services two days, Workforce Development 1.5 days, Healthy Howard three half days per week; Veterans Services first and third Thursdays, Re-entry Program noon-6p.m. on Mondays.

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The food and clothing available at the DRC is donated by the community. The only shelter here is the occasional hotel voucher or tent in the woods.

Sheltering people in the County's largely vacant Ascend One Building could put homeless individuals under the same roof as the Health Departments' medical and mental health services, near employment and on public transportation — now.

Susan Garber

North Laurel


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