Transitional housing cut to 9 apartments, but includes support services

February 08, 1994|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Sun Staff Writer

When county officials talk about their transitional housing program, "transitional" is supposed to refer to families who will be going from a shelter to permanent housing.

But the project itself has been in transition since Carroll County received grant approval in March to create 15 apartments on Kriders Church Road.

The project has been pared down to nine apartments, but now the residents will have support services such as child care and transportation to help them work their way back to independence.

Transitional housing provides lodging for up to two years so that families who have exhausted their stay at homeless shelters or are in danger of being evicted can try to become self-sufficient.

Two weeks ago, the state Department of Housing and Community Development sent a letter to the county's Department of Citizen Services confirming changes in how it will finance the partnership with county government.

The project will create the nine apartments possibly by early next year, said Marie Kienker, chief of the Carroll County Bureau of Housing and Community Development. Each apartment will come with benefits: child care, transportation, counseling and education to help residents find work and gain stability.

The previous version would have created 15 apartments, but only five of them would have had help for child care and other services. The other 10 would have been for low-income residents with a rent of $200 and no social services.

"The supportive services are critical to the success of the project, because they are critical to the success of the resident," Mrs. Kienker said.

County commissioners wanted the extra support available for all units, and the state last fall suggested switching the project to a federal program. The shift is to the Home Investment Partnership Program, which will be administered by the state.

The original plan was to move five houses from the 800 block of Littlestown Pike to 5 acres on Kriders Church Road, and build two new ones there to make 15 apartments.

But the plan now is to move four of the houses and demolish one, said Jolene Sullivan, director of the county's Department of Citizen Services, to make the nine apartments. She said she hopes the county can move the homes by December.

The cost of the project has been reduced to $460,000, from the original estimate of $770,000, Mrs. Sullivan said. The money will come through a deferred loan from the state Department of Housing and Community Development. It will essentially be a grant; the state will not ask for repayment as long as the homes are designated for transitional housing, Mrs. Kienker said.

The state grant will not pay for the supportive services, however. TC Mrs. Kienker said the county will look for other federal grants to finance them. She said she had no estimate on that cost.

The county bought the five houses on Littlestown Pike because they are near the flight path for the new runway at the Carroll County Regional Airport.

James Ryan Jr. of Rylea Homes Inc. in Westminster donated the 5 acres on Kriders Church Road to the county in the summer of 1992.

"The good thing is the land possibly could hold some additional [apartments] at some point in the future," Mrs. Sullivan said. "But taking care of nine families is all we can do right now."

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