Non-Profits Looking At Centralized Homeless Shelter

Current  system places homeless in several locations at night.

Frederick, Md. (KM) Local non-profit agencies are talking about a centralized shelter location in Frederick for homeless individuals and families. Currently, they spend their days at a day center located at the former parsonage at the Asbury United Methodist Church. At night, they’re taken to several locations to sleep, many of which are churches.

“It’s something that’s an option that requires further study,” says Reverend Brian Scott, the Executive Director of the Religious Coalition in Frederick.

Scott says the current approach, based on a model developed by an organization called Family Promise, seems to be working. “And that model involves a central day site, and a partnership with houses of worship in that community,” he says. “That program also, because it’s in houses of worship, gets a better kind of ownership from the volunteers. They kind of adopt the families because of that,” he says.

In addition, he says, the number of homeless families assisted by the Religious Coalition is often not very large. “When you look at the numbers of those who are homeless and families, compared to individuals like the Linton Shelter, it still a relatively small number. And it’s also a number which goes up and down throughout the year,” says Reverend Scott.

The Alan P. Linton Shelter on DeGrange Street provides homeless men and women with a place to sleep for the night. It’s gets a lot of use during the winter, when it can get extremely cold. But it’s open year round.

If the Religious Coalition was to construct a homeless shelter in a central location, Reverend Scott says it would have to consider the cost of such a project. “I also think it would increase the cost. And it would increase the staffing that would be needed,” he says. “Whenever you have a facility, there’s always facility costs and there’s always staffing.”

He says  the current system gives homeless families a chance to become self-sufficient again. “The whole purpose is emergency, not trying to create some sort of dependence. But trying to deal with the gap,” says Reverend Scott.