Grant means new life for homeless shelter


A $1 million federal grant will allow Human Services Programs to continue operating the county's emergency overnight shelter. But agency officials say a lot of work lies ahead before the money can be used for its intended purpose.

"We have no idea when the money will be available," said Human Services Programs deputy director, Lynda Gainor. "This is our first experience in this world."

The private, nonprofit program in Westminster was among 18 government and private agencies in Maryland that were awarded a total of $25.3 million Monday by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to fight homelessness.

Maryland was among the top 10 recipients of a total of $900 million in federal grant money awarded to community homeless programs nationwide.

HUD's grant of $1,099,514 to Human Services Programs will allow the agency to staff the emergency shelter 24 hours a day, year round, Ms. Gainor said.

The shelter serves an average of 15 people each night, many of whom are substance abusers or suffer from mental illness.

Human Services Programs' request for an additional $312,835 to open a shelter for single adults was denied, said Harriet Goldman, director of homeless services for the state Department of Human Resources.

Now that the money for the emergency shelter has been allocated, the agency will be required to submit additional paperwork to HUD detailing its plans for the projects.

Ms. Goldman said the money may be available by early fall.

The county's only emergency shelter, at 540 Washington Road, cut its hours and services July 1 when most of its money ran out.

The shelter is open weekdays from 6:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. instead of 3 p.m. to 10 a.m. It is closed on weekends.

The reduced hours will continue until the federal money becomes available, Ms. Gainor said.

Human Services Programs also plans to use the money to build a new shelter, because Carroll County General Hospital is negotiating with the county to buy the building that houses the emergency shelter.

Ms. Gainor said no site has been chosen for the new shelter but that it will be near the current location.

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