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Cecil County Department of Social Services works to address homelessness by providing one-stop services

The county’s first Homeless Resource Day will take place on October 4 at Cecil County Health Department

 CECIL COUNTY, MARYLAND (September 23, 2011) – Today, the Maryland Department of Human Resources (DHR) announced that the Cecil County Department of Social Services — one of the department’s twenty-four local offices — will host its first Homeless Resource Day on October 4, 2011 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the  Cecil County Health Department, 401 Bow Street, Elkton, Maryland.

“All across Maryland, more and more families are struggling to weather these tough economic times and many are finding themselves without a home,” said Ted Dallas, secretary of the Maryland Department of Human Resources.  “These individuals — our neighbors and fellow Marylanders — deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, which is why all across the state we are bringing public, private and non-profit organizations together to provide comprehensive one-stop services.”

The free event will provide direct services to the homeless and near-homeless population in Cecil County intended to help address the root causes of homelessness, including: medical assessments and health services, such as immunizations and testing, vision screenings, podiatric exams, and dental screenings; assistance with acquiring a valid State ID by obtaining copies of their birth certificates and social security cards; legal consultation,; housing and shelter assistance; social service, Social Security and VA benefit consultations; education and employment assistance; shower/laundry facilities; haircuts; a hot lunch; and food and personal hygiene items participants can take with them.

The homeless population in Maryland mirrors its population as a whole, consisting of families with children, individuals and the elderly.  According to the Homeless Prevention Program — which is administered by DHR’s Office of Grants Management — a person is most likely to become homeless when: they lack access to affordable housing; they suffer from mental illness or addiction; they experience domestic violence; they lack the skills and training necessary to secure a living wage; and they lack the support of family and friends.

Once an individual or family becomes homeless, they often face considerable systemic challenges to regaining steady employment and housing, such as a lack of access to an official government identification card, preventative healthcare services, and employment assistance.  By offering these services — and many more — in one centralized location, Cecil County is making it easier for the homeless and the near homeless to access resources necessary to help themselves.

“We would like to reach the homeless wherever they dwell in the county, said Nicholas Ricciuti, director of the Cecil County Department of Social Services.  “The near homeless, including people who have no permanent housing and may be staying with relatives or friends while they await employment and housing, are encouraged to attend.”

Last year, the Department of Human Resources — through the Cecil County Department of Social Services and its community partners — provided homeless services to over 254 Cecil County residents.  As of July 2011, more than 3,148 Cecil County residents are receiving food assistance, over 508 applied for energy assistance, and over 592 households are receiving cash assistance.  There are approximately three shelters in the county with a total nightly capacity of 76 beds.

Many community agencies and individuals are donating their services for the event, including the Cecil County Department of Social Services, Cecil County Health Department, Cecil County Senior Services and Community Transit, Cecil College, the Social Security Administration, Legal Aid Bureau, Cecil County Public Schools, Cecil County Housing Authority, Elkton Housing Agency, Susquehanna Workforce Network, Perry Point VA Medical Center, the Vet Center, all Cecil County Shelters, Hair Etc., Priority Partners MCO, Union Hospital, Community Coalition for Affordable Housing, DORS, the Cecil County Boys & Girls Club, Podiatrists Dr. Velotti and Dr. Klaus, Upper Bay Counseling, On Our Own, Eastern Shore Mental Health Mobile Crisis, Americorp NCCC, Dentist Dr. Paul Lavine, University of Maryland Dental School, Vision Associates, Seidenberg-Protzko Eye Associates, the Office of Epidemiology and Emergency Preparedness, and the Elkton Lions Club.

The sponsors welcome participation at the event, whether as a vendor, volunteer, or guest.  For additional information, contact Barbara Smith at the Cecil County Department of Social Services, 410-996-0170 or bsmith8@dhr.state.md.us.

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The Maryland Department of Human Resources (DHR) is the state’s primary social service provider, serving over one million people annually.  The Department, through its 24 local departments of social services, aggressively pursues opportunities to assist people in economic need, provide preventive services, and protect vulnerable children and adults in each of Maryland’s 24 counties.  Cecil County DSS is a field office of the Maryland Department of Human Resources.

 

Filed in: Cecil County, DHR News, Home Page Highlight, Homelessness

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