North Arundel Ministries to establish homeless shelter Glen Burnie-area facility is to house single men

July 14, 1996|By S. Mitra Kalita | S. Mitra Kalita,SUN STAFF

Homeless men in North County need more than just a place to sleep, say the church volunteers who look after them in the winter.

Members of the North Arundel Area Ministries are working to establish a permanent shelter in the Glen Burnie area to provide counseling, education and employment assistance for homeless men. They estimate that the shelter will be complete in two years.

"The homeless needed more than we were providing through the rotating shelter," said the Rev. R. Olin Herndon of Glen Burnie United Methodist Church. "They need counseling to get on their feet and be integrated into community life."

For the last four winters, about 20 churches have taken turns providing 25 men with food and shelter for one week. Volunteers said about 200 homeless have passed through their church doors.

The Department of Human Resources documented 2,300 displaced individuals in 1994. Three shelters -- Sarah's House in Fort Meade, the Lighthouse Shelter and Helping Hand, both of Annapolis -- currently serve the county's homeless. None are exclusively for single men.

"There are limited services for single, homeless men. There is also nothing in North County for them," said Jim Fouse, coordinator of the North Arundel Winter Rotating Shelter Program. "[The shelter] will essentially fill a gap that exists in the community."

As their model, the churches are using the Lighthouse Shelter, the Annapolis facility that started as a rotating shelter before it found a permanent home on West Street in 1991.

The North County ministries are preparing an application to the Arundel Community Development Service, requesting a $250,000 grant to start the project. They have obtained money from the churches that participate in the rotating shelter program.

Based on the Lighthouse model, $70,000 is needed for the salaries of a director, two case workers and other operating expenses, Fouse said.

Like the existing rotation program, volunteer support is greatly needed, he added.

Shelter admission standards also will be similar to the current program. An individual must be free of drug and alcohol abuse.

But, volunteers stressed, more important is the individual's desire to rehabilitate himself, become independent and remain self-sufficient.

"There is a definite change in philosophy," said Herndon, of Glen Burnie's United Methodist. "We have a higher objective than keeping the homeless from the cold."

Pub Date: 7/14/96

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