Shoemaker House plans June move to Springfield

March 17, 1994|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Sun Staff Writer

Shoemaker House is expected to move from Westminster to its new home at Springfield Hospital Center in June, said Jo Riley-Kauer, director of the county Health Department's Bureau of Addictions.

The 17-bed residential addictions-treatment center, run by the county Health Department, was initially scheduled to move to a vacant building at Springfield in November.

The move was delayed because of problems in obtaining money, health officials have said.

The officials and Human Services Agency providers aren't looking forward to Shoemaker's move because they have relied on the facility as an emergency overnight shelter for the county's homeless during the winter.

The state requires each county to have a cold weather plan in effect for the homeless when the temperature drops to 32 degrees.

Shoemaker House has worked well as an emergency shelter because of its 24-hour staff and location between the Health Department and Carroll County General Hospital.

In anticipation of Shoemaker's move, county officials and Human Services Agency providers have been meeting to work out a cold weather policy for next winter.

Shoemaker staff agreed to let the county continue to use the addictions center as an emergency shelter, but said the homeless would have to be transported to Sykesville.

Jolene Sullivan, Carroll's director of citizens services, said transporting homeless people to Shoemaker appears to be the most cost-effective way to provide emergency shelter next winter, instead of finding and staffing a shelter that is more centrally located.

Ms. Sullivan said she hopes to find county money to pay for transportation by local cab companies or Carroll Transit.

Carroll County General Hospital has expressed interest in buying the Shoemaker House building, and Ms. Sullivan said the county commissioners are also looking into future uses.

Ms. Riley-Kauer said her staff is committed to continuing emergency care for the homeless.

"They're real positive about it," she said. "They feel like it's a real service."

When Shoemaker moves, the emergency shelter will probably have to restrict its hours, to prevent people from coming in very late at night, she said.

Use of the emergency shelter this winter was much lower than anticipated, even with the record cold weather.

"We didn't have as many as we thought," she said. "We even brought in extra food and blankets."

Since January, 12 people have sought overnight shelter at Shoemaker House. Between January and November of last year, 30 people stayed at the shelter for 70 nights, Ms. Riley-Kauer said.

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