New, im­proved Eastern Fam­ily Re­source Cen­ter opens on Franklin Square cam­pus

The Avenue News - - FRONT PAGE - By: GIANNA DECARLO gde­carlo@ches­pub.com

The new Eastern Fam­ily Re­source Cen­ter, a $26 mil­lion, 80,000 square foot, three-floor fa­cil­ity on the cam­pus of the MedS­tar Franklin Square Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Rosedale is now open.

A rib­bon-cut­ting cer­e­mony was held on Thurs­day, Oc­to­ber 18 to cel­e­brate the fa­cil­ity’s ex­panded hous­ing re­sources, tran­si­tional shel­ters and com­mu­nity health ser­vices that are now more ac­ces­si­ble to a larger num­ber of res­i­dents fac­ing home­less­ness.

“To­day, our hope has turned into an ac­tu­al­ity. In­side, we’ve got den­tal ser- vices, clin­i­cal ser­vices, WIC ser­vices, au­di­ol­ogy ser­vices, sub­stance abuse and men­tal health ser­vices, and health­care for the home­less,” said Dr. Gre­gory Wm. Branch, Bal­ti­more County Di­rec­tor of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices dur­ing open­ing re­marks. “All of the ser­vices cou­pled with shel­ters and tran­si­tional hous­ing cre­ate a state-ofthe-art fa­cil­ity to serve our com­mu­nity.”

Th­ese ser­vices also in­clude mul­ti­ple Health Depart­ment func­tions, in­clud­ing Fam­ily Planning, Den­tal Ser­vices, the Women, In­fants and Chil­dren

Sup­ple­men­tal Nutri­tion Pro­gram, Im­mu­niza­tions, Sub­stance Abuse Treat­ment, a Sex­u­ally Trans­mit­ted In­fec­tions clinic, and the In­fants and Tod­dlers Pro­gram.

Me­gan Goffne, the di­rec­tor of Home­less and Hous- ing Ser­vices, said the new fa­cil­i­ties al­low her staff to take in larger fam­i­lies, where before they of­ten had to be re­jected due to a lack of room. They are cur­rently hous­ing 157 in­di­vid­u­als in the shel­ter with 87 of them be­ing chil­dren.

“It feels good to have space. It takes a lot to run a shel­ter and we were work­ing out of shared of­fice space, and we couldn’t get to a copy ma­chine, and we couldn’t have a break be­cause we didn’t have any­where to sit,” she said.

The new EFRC can serve up to 250 peo­ple along with 38 spa­ces for tran­si­tional shel­ters for women and chil­dren and a men’s shel­ter with a ca­pac­ity of 50. Other im­prove­ments in­clude a separate Kid’s Com­puter Room for in­ter­net use and a child care and child de­vel­op­ment space, along with an out­door play area.

The County funded $16 mil­lion of the cost of the new fa­cil­ity, with MedS­tar Health pro­vid­ing $5 mil­lion in sup­port, along with $5 mil­lion from the State of Mary­land.

Bal­ti­more County and MedS­tar Franklin Square Med­i­cal Cen­ter ne­go­ti­ated a land swap whereby the land hous­ing the pre­vi­ous Eastern Fam­ily Re­source Cen­ter is in­cor­po­rated into the hos­pi­tal cam­pus and MedS­tar gave the County the 3.9-acre par­cel of prop­erty for the new cen­ter which was for­merly a park­ing lot for Franklin Square em­ploy­ees. The shel­ters will be op­er­ated and staffed by Com­mu­nity As­sis­tance Net­work in part­ner­ship with Bal­ti­more County.

Kevin Lin­damood, the Pres­i­dent & CEO of Health Care for the Home­less praised th­ese part­ner­ships, say­ing that the shel­ter pro­vides an en­vi­ron­ment for peo­ple to thrive, even when they’re go­ing through tough times.

“We’re here to prove that home­less­ness is not per­ma­nent. We know that when

vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple have ac­cess to three things: com­pre­hen­sive health ser­vices, a safe and sta­ble place to stay, and some kind of an in­come through em­ploy­ment to get back into the main­stream, with those three things we can end home­less­ness and not just man­age it,” he said.

For the dozens of health­care and home­less ad­vo­cates that gath­ered at the rib­bon-cut­ting, the new cen­ter rep­re­sented hope for many peo­ple in Bal­ti­more County that are go­ing through a tough time and just need a help­ing hand to get back on the right track.

“We must see them not as strangers, but as neigh­bors. And we must ac­knowl­edge the fact that, at any mo- ment, things could fall apart in our own lives and it could be us seek­ing shel­ter or liv­ing on the streets,” said Bal­ti­more County Ex­ec­u­tive Kevin Kamenetz.

“It’s a great way to give peo­ple their lives back and to get them back on their feet,” said Sen­a­tor Kather- ine Klaus­meier (D-8).

The new Eastern Re­source Cen­ter is part of an ini­tia­tive called the 10-Year Plan to End Home­less­ness in Bal­ti­more County which aims to cre­ate a com­pre­hen­sive hous­ing cri­sis re­sponse sys­tem that fo­cus­eson the needs of vul­ner­a­ble resi- dents while im­prov­ing ac­cess to hous­ing.

“This new fa­cil­ity will help count­less peo­ple in eastern Bal­ti­more County, whether they are home­less or need low-cost health and den­tal ser­vices for their fam­ily,” said Coun­cil­woman Cathy Bevins (D-6).

PHOTO BY GIANNA DECARLO

Dig­ni­taries cut the rib­bon on the new Eastern Fam­ily Re­source Cen­ter on Oct. 18

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