Somerset County Economic Development Commission
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New shelter is from a caring community
October 4, 2017
 New shelter is from a caring community

Donations for furnishings and operational expenses are the next pressing need

By Richard Crumbacker

Crisfield-Somerset County Times


PRINCESS ANNE — The Somerset County Committee for the Homeless Inc. last Wednesday held a ribbon cutting and open house for its 16-bed Lower Shore Shelter.


It is now ramping up to furnish and staff the facility located here at 12518 North Somerset Avenue as it will soon be open 24 hours a day with a manager onsite.


The $1.046 million structure replaces the Wood Home, which provided transitional housing but following superstorm Sandy it became infested with mold and was razed along with a second house to increase the size of the property.


In support of the new facility $880,000 in Sandy recovery funds were provided along with a $150,000 Maryland Affordable Housing Trust grant and $16,000 from

the shelter committee’s operating budget.


Among the guests introduced by committee President Jim Porter was Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth Holt, who said this project is a sign “of how much the community cares for its citizens.”


He said a recent survey of young people counted 800 “couch surfing,” living in their cars or out on the street, adding that Gov. Hogan’s administration wants to bring that to zero.


In the last fiscal year some 50 individuals in Somerset County were homeless and accessed housing services compared to 22 in FY ’16. This does not include county residents housed in shelters in neighboring counties. The new facility’s name Lower Shore Shelter is a sign that this site will accommodate homeless from the tri- county area as needed.

Mr. Porter praised the work of Cindy Stone, the administrator of the Community Development Block Grant Program for DHCD, which provided a bulk of the funding and guidance on this project. In his remarks, Sen. Jim Mathias reminded the crowd that it was U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, now retired, who fought for the federal Sandy funds which would have otherwise not been available.


Currently donations are being accepted for furnishings, and the community will be asked to help with continuing support for operations. To fully furnish one bedroom and provide the accessories necessary for a family costs over $5,600 and the congregation of Manokin Presbyterian Church has stepped in and donated toward this.


Mr. Porter introduced co-Pastors Dave Parke and Lee Johnson and said a plaque for their contribution will be placed on that bedroom door.


“The congregation is so gracious and compassionate,” Pastor Johnson said.

Richard F. “Dick” Scott, the committee’s vice president, said there are four bedrooms with one room used for intake and a conference room that could serve as a dining room, or if necessary another bedroom. Families will be kept together, men and women otherwise will be separate.


Counseling and other services will be offeredto the residents to get them back on their feet.


“This is considered a short-term emergency shelter,” Mr. Scott said, “to try to get them back to a normal lifestyle.”


At full capacity it will cost $150,000 to $200,000 a year to operate with all expenses and salaries, but at first volunteers will be asked to help keep it open 24 hours. “We’re trying to start with volunteers,” Mr. Scott said, especially as the services come online. “It’s a growing process, until we actually get into it, and get honed to how it’s running.”


Donations for furnishings and/ or operations are tax deductible through the Somerset County Committee for the Homeless Inc., and may be mailed to P.O. Box 11, Princess Anne, Md. 21853. Joyce Cottman is the committee treasurer. To volunteer or for more information, contact Brandi Horner at 410-677-4337 or


Crisfield-Somerset County Times/ Richard Crumbacker

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