County May Lease Home For Shelter

House Purchased For Road-widening,but Budget Cuts Delay Project

December 15, 1991|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Staff writer

A delay in improvements to Moores Mill Road in Bel Air could soon benefit a group that assists homeless families.

Holy Family House Inc., a non-profit volunteer group started by the county's 11 Episcopalchurches, is considering leasing a house that sits on land the county bought when it purchased property so Moores Mill Road can be widened. The road runs between Route 543 and Hickory Avenue.

The group wants the house to be used as a transitional shelter tohelp homeless families become financially self-sufficient, said BillWhite, a member of the Holy Family House board of directors.

County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann and county administrators came up with the idea to lease the house for $1 annually for use as a temporary homeless shelter after the county found it could not afford the road project due to state aid cuts.

"Unless good fortune rains on us, Idon't see the road projected being completed for about seven years. There's no construction money," said William T. Baker Jr., director of the Department of Public Works. "And you know which project will bedone first -- Willoughby Beach Road."

Edgewood residents complained of the poor condition of Willoughby Beach Road at a recent meetingsponsored by the county executive.

Baker said county administrators want the house to be occupied to reduce the chance that it would be vandalized if vacant.

Holy Family House is the only group in thecounty that provides temporary shelter for entire homeless families,White said. He said other groups or agencies provide housing for homeless women, children or men, but do not have facilities for family members to live together.

"Everything is furnished: dishes, furniture, bedding, towels, pots and pans, knives, forks, spoons," White said. "All they have to do is move in and bring their clothing and food.But we do not move the families in and expect them to move out in a short time without someone helping them. Advocates are assigned to each family to help them become self-sufficient again."

White said Holy Family House now has two two-bedroom apartments it makes available to homeless families for 90 days to six months. Since the venture began five years ago, Holy Family House has helped 18 families get on their feet.

Said White, "There are just a few minor details to work out. We've been excited for a long time, and we've been anxiously waiting every day to see this fall into place."

She said she expects to know more about the plan next week.

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