Latest Strategies and Successes for Combating MD Homelessness

In its most recent meeting, the Joint Committee on Ending Homelessness reviewed the 2016 Annual Report on Homelessness, which was prepared by Maryland’s Interagency Council on Homelessness (ICH). The report outlines the work of the ICH, trends in homelessness, and provides policy recommendations to the Joint Committee on Ending Homelessness.

According to the report,

This report highlights the ICH’s accomplishments in 2016. The most notable accomplishments include:

  • Supported the successful execution of Youth Reach Maryland, the first count of unaccompanied homeless youth and young adults throughout six jurisdictions.
  • Held multiple strategy sessions to improve methods of sheltering the homeless during inclement weather emergencies.
  • Successfully began tracking and publishing deaths of the homless during extreme weather months.
  • Adopted a Housing First definition and created a summary of homeless service funding sources for the state.
  • Began work to consolidate programs within two of three state agencies to make homeless services funding more efficient and effective.
  • Created a resource guide that summarizes services available to homeless veterans statewide.

The ICH also praised best practices from local jurisdictions. Cecil and Carroll were amongst those recognized in the report:

In Cecil County, both providers and emergency management personnel plan for the winter weather season together. Starting early, ahead of the frigid portion of the season allows jurisdictions to have adequate time to assess existing resources and anticipate service gaps in sheltering the homeless.

In 2014, Charles County executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between local stakeholders, outlining the individual roles of each entity. This allows cold weather shelter stakeholders to clearly define their roles and responsibilities and formalizes their planning process ahead of each winter season.

The infographic below provides a snapshot of statewide homeless data collected in 2016.

Courtesy Interagency Council on Homlessness

For more information, read the full report.

At this year’s MACo Winter Conference, you can learn about best practices and challenges related to homelessness in Maryland.

Here are more details:

Title: Winter Is Coming: Fortify Your Shelters for Frosty Weather

Description: While resources for sheltering have been stretched thin in recent years, through strengthening partnerships and improving data sharing, local jurisdictions are seeking to provide safety and warmth to the homeless throughout the year, and especially during winter. Homeless Management Information Systems, point-in-time counts, and shelter data can contribute to the work of public and nonprofit partners providing shelter to the homeless in cold weather. In this session, learn how year-round data collection and assessments can inform and strengthen partnerships to provide sheltering for a population in need, when they need it the most.

Date/Time: Thursday, December 8, 2016; 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

The MACo Winter Conference will be held December  7-9, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel in Cambridge, Maryland. This year the conference’s theme is “An Ounce of Prevention.”

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference: