Shoemaker relocation delayed Homeless may have shelter for winter


Shoemaker House, Carroll County's 17-bed residential addictions treatment center, will likely remain in Westminster through the winter, instead of moving to Springfield Hospital Center next month.

The delay means the county's homeless may continue to use Shoemaker House as an emergency overnight shelter for as long as the center stays in Westminster, said Larry L. Leitch, Carroll's deputy health officer.

"As long as Shoemaker House stays where it is, we have no problem with the county using it," Mr. Leitch said.

"That's surprising. It's real good news," said Sylvia Canon, director of Human Services Programs Inc., the nonprofit agency that operates three other homeless shelters in the county.

Since they learned of Shoemaker House's impending move a month ago, Ms. Canon and county human services officials have been trying to arrange a new emergency shelter for the homeless when it turns colder.

The state requires each county to have a cold weather policy for the homeless, but no extra funding is provided to implement the plans. The cold weather plans must go into effect when the temperature drops to 32 degrees.

Shoemaker House, a brick ranch house between the Carroll County Health Department and Carroll County General Hospital, has worked well as an emergency shelter because of its central location and 24-hour staff.

Mr. Leitch said the main reason for the delay in Shoemaker's move to Springfield was the failure of the Health Department's addictions treatment bureau to submit a supplemental budget to the state Alcohol and Drug Administration.

Additional budget money is needed to cover moving expenses, and to purchase equipment and furniture for the new facility at Springfield.

Mr. Leitch said he does not know why the supplemental budget has not been submitted.

"They're treating clients all day and running groups at night," Mr. Leitch said of the addictions treatment staff. "Sometimes when you set out to get something done by a certain time, you get overtaken by events."

Mr. Leitch said a change in procurement regulations also has contributed to the delay.

A year ago, the county Health Department was placed under state procurement guidelines instead of county-delegated procurement. The new process is more time-consuming and cumbersome, and requires the department to solicit bids for services, such as those involved in the Shoemaker move, Mr. Leitch said.

Under the county's guidelines, the department wasn't required to formally solicit such bids, he said.

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