New, improved Eastern Family Resource Center opens on Franklin Square campus
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).
Dignitaries cut the ribbon on the new Eastern Family Resource Center on Oct. 18