Shelter for homeless families solicits donations Program scrapes by, minus state grant

May 06, 1993|By Cindy Parr | Cindy Parr,Contributing Writer

The only shelter in Carroll County where needy families can stay intact has enough money to stay open until the end of June, says an official of the agency that operates the facility.

Lynda Gainor told members of the Carroll County Children's Council yesterday that enough has been donated to keep the shelter functioning until then.

Ms. Gainor is deputy director of Human Services Programs of Carroll County Inc., which operates the shelters. She said the agency is soliciting donations from the community in an attempt to secure the $32,000 necessary to continue shelter operations.

"We have already received $4,700 and an additional $2,000 in pledges that have not been collected," Ms. Gainor said.

"We have had two corporations make donations, but most of this money has come from individuals. The $4,700 will keep us open an additional month. Volunteers and staff have really helped with this effort."

The Family Shelter, located in two Westminster buildings, currently houses four families with a total of six children. The shelter opened in 1989 but has been in jeopardy since 1991, when the state eliminated the Emergency Shelter Grant for Carroll County.

The annual $32,000 grant was used to supplement the shelter's estimated $46,000 operating budget.

Ms. Gainor said a threatened closing of the shelter was avoided last year when an anonymous donor contributed $32,000, allowing the shelter to remain open.

"This year, we are looking to the community to raise the $32,000," Ms. Gainor said. "This money is actually used for operating expenses [to pay case managers, client support services, and electric and phone bills]. It is not used to pay the mortgage, since the buildings are supported by the city of

Westminster.

"We have faith that it will happen. We have faith in the community."

Ms. Gainor's agency operates four shelters in Carroll County that provide a total of 55 beds for homeless men, women and children. Since 1985, Human Services has provided shelter for a total of 329 men, 442 women and 584 children, she said.

In other business, Linda Ebersole, the Children's Council president, said a review of the council's bylaws will be made to determine whether term limits for members should be changed.

In a meeting with County Commissioner Donald I. Dell last month, Ms. Ebersole and Emily Ferren, the council secretary, expressed concern over losing several members later this year.

"We wanted Commissioner Dell to know that a lot of expertise would be lost, and we asked him if we could look at making some changes to the bylaws," Ms. Ebersole said.

Under current bylaws, Children's Council members are appointed by the county commissioners and can serve up to two consecutive three-year terms.

The bylaws also state that a year must elapse before a two-term member can return to the council, where several social service agencies are represented.

Currently, the council has eight members who have served two consecutive terms and are scheduled to leave Nov. 1.

"We are going to look and see what agencies will be lost," said Ms. Ferren. "In cases where there is only one person to represent the agency, we will work to reword the bylaws so that person can continue on the council."

Ms. Ferren said other changes in the bylaws will include eliminating all references to the State Advisory Council, an umbrella agency for children's councils throughout the state that will be disbanded Oct. 1.

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