An innovative residential program to help homeless families is scheduled to open this summer in two abandoned buildings at the Rosewood Center in Baltimore County.
Using a combination of federal, state and county resources -- as well as donated services from local developer Willard Hackerman -- the program is supposed to provide counseling and other services to help homeless families find and resettle in homes.
Up to 24 families will stay at the center at any given time, living in apartments for an average of six to nine months while they receive job training, drug counseling and other services from county agencies, said Christopher Tawa, administrator of development finance at the state's Community Development Administration housing program.
The program is to be funded by a $1.88 million federal grant. Of that, about $150,000 is to be used to renovate the buildings and the rest to operate the center over five years. Under terms of the grant, the center must be renovated and ready for operation by July.
Hackerman, president of Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., has agreed to donate $200,000 in goods and services related to the renovation, Tawa said.
"It's a real partnership for all the parties involved," Tawa said.
Slated for renovation are the shuttered I and J buildings at Rosewood, a state hospital in Owings Mills.
The state Board of Public Works yesterday agreed to spend $150,000 on lead and asbestos abatement necessary before renovations can begin. The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development will provide a $232,000 loan to a non-profit group that will be selected to run the facility.
Lois Cramer, Baltimore County's acting housing administrator, said the center will offer more comprehensive services than most shelters for the homeless.
Residents will pay rent based on their income and will have access to on-site day care and a van to take them to and from county program sites, she said.
Tenants will be referred there from the county's other shelters for the homeless, she said.
The county's shelters reported helping 1,600 people in 1989, the latest year for which figures are available. Of those, 82 percent were families.