County’s home­less shouldn’t be ig­nored

Record Observer - - Opinion -

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.

Centreville

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