County’s homeless shouldn’t be ignored
In response to your reporting on Queen Anne’s County Commissioner’s approval of Chesterwye’s proposal to use the State Street property in Stevensville (“County Approves State Street Resolution,” 5/11/16), I must echo the warnings of Commissioners (Jim) Moran and (Robert) Buckey that the county ignores the area’s growing homeless population at our own peril.
Both commissioners rightly praise the mission and work of the Chesterwye Center, but are justly bothered at the loss of that property as a source of units to house homeless persons after years of effort and county expense to prepare it to meet that growing need.
The numbers speak for themselves. In the Mid-Shore designated area, the annual point in time survey of homeless persons required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development shows a sharp increase in homeless persons over the past four years.
The number of homeless persons counted at a single point in time in late January for the Mid Shore area doubled from 80 persons in 2012 to 158 persons in 2015. During the same period, the number of beds to house the homeless in the same area remained level.
While the number of overall homeless doubled, the portion that were literally unsheltered (living in cars, barns, the woods etc) increased fivefold in the same time period, from 7 to 35.
These percentage increases left unaddressed will only get worse as the number of homeless persons in our part of the Eastern Shore continues to increase.