Ecker schedules Oct. 26 summit on homelessness

County Executive Charles I. Ecker has set a date of Oct. 26 for a summit of community organizations, nonprofit agencies, religious groups and businesses to help solve Howard's homeless problem.

Mr. Ecker also proposed this week that an additional $30,000 be allocated to the Grassroots motel shelter program for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends June 30.


Grassroots, one of the county's primary homeless shelter organizations, maintains 20 beds in its Columbia shelter, 12 beds in a transitional shelter and 24 beds in the motel shelter program.

Because of the number of homeless people who have approached it for assistance, Grassroots has kept 58 people in the motel shelter program, exhausting nearly half of the $61,353 that was supposed to last it from July 1, 1993, to June 30, 1994.


The $30,000 in aid for Grassroots' motel shelter program is subject to approval by the County Council, which is co-sponsoring the summit along with the Howard County Board on Homelessness.

About two weeks ago, officials from the Domestic Violence Center, which provides eight beds in its Columbia shelter and 28 beds in transitional shelters, proposed the summit to Mr. Ecker.

The summit is to run from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the Interfaith Center in the Village of Oakland Mills, 5885 Robert Oliver Place, Columbia.

Topics are to include discussions of plans to increase funding for the motel shelter program and ways to reduce the length of time homeless people spend in shelters.

Howard has an estimated 700 homeless people, according to county officials. Statewide, about 50,000 people are homeless.