10-year plan aims to aid homeless

Focus includes housing, jobs, health care

August 30, 2006|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,Sun reporter

State officials joined with advocacy groups for the poor yesterday to start the clock on what they hope is a 10-year strategy to end homelessness in Maryland.

The plan, which was completed in December - was set in motion yesterday by the Maryland Interagency Council of Homelessness, a group of 11 state agencies and the governor's office.

To mark the 10-year countdown, representatives from Health Care for the Homeless and Stop Homelessness and Reduce Poverty watched as state Human Resources Secretary Christopher J. McCabe pushed the button to start a clock on the plan.

The clock will be displayed at the Health Care for the Homeless building on the west side of downtown.

"This is a true partnership between the state and the advocacy community to advance a plan to make homelessness rare in the state," said Kevin Lindamood, vice president of external affairs for Health Care for the Homeless.

The plan focuses on four areas:

Housing, by making 120,000 units of housing available for households that earn less than 30 percent of the area median income, which is $10,320 in Baltimore.

Income, by calling on business and community leaders to train and employ homeless people. The plan seeks to reduce barriers to employment for those who have criminal pasts.

Health, by enrolling people in programs, such as Medicaid.

Other issues affecting the homeless, such as increasing coordination among services. The plan calls for public and private institutions to improve communication with community services after people are discharged from prisons, psychiatric hospitals or foster care.

SHARP will hold an informational public forum at 3 p.m. Sept. 13 at Our Daily Bread, 411 Cathedral St.

"We want to make this a true living document, change this, shape this, implement it so that we actually can help more of our neighbors move from the streets and back to the mainstream. That's the intention of all this," Lindamood said.

brent.jones@baltsun.com

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