ELLICOTT CITY, MD – May 1, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — The Howard County Department of Citizen Services has announced the number of individuals and households counted as homeless in Howard County, identified through the national Point-in-Time count, has declined for the third year in a row. In 2012, 150 households comprised of 230 individuals were homeless. The Department’s most recent count, which it conducts annually at the end of each January, found 104 households with a total of 166 individuals to be homeless in Howard County.
The decline in the number of homeless individuals in Howard County coincides with the launch of the County’s Coordinated System of Homeless Services (CSHS) in September 2012. CSHS came as a recommendation of the County’s “Plan to End Homelessness” initiative and now integrates the services of 13 non-profit and government agencies.
“Thanks to the overwhelming commitment of key non-profit agencies and county departments, we are on track to make homelessness a brief and rare occurrence most of the time,” said Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman. “I am pleased that we are able to continue funding this important initiative even in difficult budget times.”
Howard County adopted its Plan to End Homelessness in 2010. Since then, under the leadership of the Department of Citizen Services, Howard County has moved to the forefront of creating a system of services for those in a housing crisis. “We still have work to do,” said Lois Mikkila, Director of the Department of Citizen Services. “But our collective approach is an effective framework to address this complex social issue.”
Combining the efforts of the CSHS with creative housing options is the next critical step to meeting the plan’s goals. A county project to build efficiency apartments on the second floor of the new Day Resource Center in Jessup will fill a significant gap in resources needed for the county’s chronically homeless.
The annual Point-in-Time count is used by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to track the number of homeless individuals in the United States. Data collected during the count is delivered to HUD, which releases the information to the public at the end of April.
The count includes both those living in emergency and transitional shelter, as well as those who are unsheltered. Because many homeless episodes are brief, the count does not provide a comprehensive picture of the total number of individuals and households who experience homelessness over the course of the year, but gives a snapshot of the situation. The data count emphasizes the importance of local efforts to address homelessness in the community.