Housing Homeless Families CARROLL COUNTY

May 19, 1993

Once again, Carroll's Human Services Program, the non-profi organization that operates the county's homeless shelters, is struggling to raise what it needs to keep open its shelter for families. Last year, the organization received a $30,000 anonymous donation that covered the cost of running the shelter for the fiscal year that ends next month. This year, HSP hasn't been so fortunate.

It has been unable to obtain a state emergency assistance grant because Maryland's housing department is giving money this year only to those agencies that received money last year, which leaves HSP out. So, the program is again asking the community bTC to make donations to support the family shelter. To date, HSP has collected $4,744, but it calculates it will need at least five times that -- $27,256 -- to run the family shelter for the next 12 months. If the drive isn't successful, the family shelter will close at the end of June.

And make no mistake: Even in relatively well-to-do Carroll, if this facility is forced to close it will be missed. Last year, 24 families used the shelter, including 44 adults (two of them pregnant) and 41 children. These were people who had lost their homes and belongings to fires; who had lost jobs to the recession and could no longer afford rent; who had been living with relatives or friends, had gotten into disputes and had to leave.

Many of these families just need time to stabilize their situations. That is what the HSP family shelter provides. A roof over one's heads. An opportunity to re-organize lives. Time to find a job and accumulate some money for an apartment security deposit.

Most important, the HSP shelter keeps the family unit intact and functioning throughout this stress and turmoil. Without this facility, fathers and older boys would be sent to a men's shelter, mothers and younger children would be put into a women's shelter.

HSP has calculated that it requires $28 to support one person for one day in the shelter. If 973 Carroll families donated $28, HSP would be able to keep it operating another year.

Checks made payable to HSP, with the notation "Family Shelter," can be sent to: P.O. Box 489, Westminster, MD, 21158. While Carroll County isn't known for poverty, it does have a track record of generosity for worthwhile community causes.

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