CITY OF LAUREL HOMELESSNESS TASK FORCE AGENDA
LAUREL CITY HALL – PARKS AND RECREATION CONFERENCE ROOM
TUESDAY, AUGUST 13, 2019- 6:00 P.M.
- Approval of the minutes of the meeting of Wednesday, July 17, 2019
- Review of the Homelessness Task Force Mission Statement
- Continue talking about the services/resources currently being offered in the Greater Laurel area, including the churches?
- Review of LARS’ data for services/referrals received by PG Co residents in FY19
- What services are currently needed, identify gaps?
CITY OF LAUREL
HOMELESSNESS TASK FORCE
MEETING MINUTES – August 13, 2019
The meeting convened at Laurel City Hall – Park and Recreation Conference Room at 6:10 p.m. with Chairman Donald Whitehead presiding. Committee Members Present: Ms. Valerie Nicholas, Mr. Keith Sydnor, Ms. Leah Paley, Ms. Stephanie Hammond, Pastor Mir Segundo, Pastor Gregory Strong, Mr. Phillip Ott, Ms. Jenny Wall, Ms. Ruth Walls, Mr. Brencis Smith, Mr. Robert Love, Dr. Michael Schaffer and Ms. Ana Navarro.
The approval of the minutes of the July 17, 2019 meeting were postponed for the next Homelessness Task Force Meeting.
Item #2 on agenda: Review of the Homelessness Task Force Mission Statement
Robert Love read the mission statement to the group and all agreed that the mission statement needed some changes since it seemed to broad, Mr. Love asked for anyone with suggestions let him know via email. Discussion to continue at the next meeting.
Item #3 on agenda: Continue talking about the services/resources currently being offered in the Greater Laurel area, including the churches?
DR. MICHAEL SCHAFFER – NEW DAY MARYLAND INC.
Dr. Schaffer is part of New Day Maryland Inc. Through New Day they provide various programs to the community. One being the First Friends Breakfast where each Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. they provide meals, prayer and bible study for those currently or formerly homeless.
Jobs for Life is another program where they assist students engage in a journey from unemployment to employment or from under-employment to better employment.
New Day has two new programs, one of them is the Assistance Program where they offer confidential care and assistance based on individual needs and unique situations. The other which is still being developed, is the New Day Housing Program where they are looking to provide a campus with a day room facility, emergency shelter, medical rooms where doctors and nurses volunteer to provide healthcare, conference and meeting rooms.
New Day works closely with local medical and legal professionals who volunteer their time with New Day in order to adequately address homelessness in the greater Laurel area. New Day works to ensure that all individuals they work with are able to enroll in, and receive the resources needed.
A future program in the works is their Apprentice Readiness Program which involves building trades, North American Iron Workers Union in Washington, D.C.
PASTOR GREGORY STRONG – CITY OF ZION CHURCH
Pastor of City of Zion Church, hosted Winter Haven for many years and provided shelter for women at their church until about 2 years ago when they relocated to Laurel High School where they now, alongside the Laurel Clergy, give bible classes and provide counseling. Pastor Strong worked full-time at the Central Union Mission in Washington, D.C. for 13 years. He was the Director for the long-term recovery program.
PASTOR SEGUNDO MIR
Pastor Mir recently started a new church in Howard County, his church currently has a food pantry and is located off of New Hampshire Ave.
STEPHANIE HAMMOND – ELIZABETH HOUSE/FISH OF LAUREL, INC.
Elizabeth House provides hot meals (dinner) on a daily basis 365 day a year. They also have a food pantry which is offered only to Laurel residents. This assistance is provided once a month. Utility assistance is also provided for Laurel residence once a year. Prescription assistance is provided to residence once a month. A referral is provided for all other services needed. Focus is mainly on food.
Pantries are by appointment only and are given on Thursdays and Saturdays every week.
Grab bag items are given to anyone that does not qualify for the pantry items. Prince George’s County residence do come to the pantry but the items they get are limited.
Email: [email protected]
LEAH PALEY - LARS
Through QCI Behavioral Health, LARS has as Outreach worker who typically comes out once or twice a week to meet with individuals who are homeless and if eligible, and willing they can be linked with various services like case management and nurse psychiatrist. The meetings are held at LARS and they can be picked up and brought there for those meetings. In order to get this assistance, they have to be clients of LARS.
LARS has a staff member who is SOAR trained. SOAR is an expedited process to get people their Social Security benefits. More information on SOAR can be found on their website at - https://soarworks.prainc.com/article/what-soar
Item #4 on agenda: Review of LARS data for services/referrals received by PG Co residents in FY19
There was a question asked at the last meeting regarding the number of households within the City of Laurel that LARS serviced and Ms. Paley said that would be difficult to determine because they don’t have any parameters in their database that can break that down.
Based on the data provided, LARS served a total of 727 household in Prince George’s households in the two Laurel zip codes. The majority of people that came in for services only came in once. Food Pantry is always the top service provided every year with 7,000 bags of food being given out every year. The holiday program serves 200 households a year. A number of individuals without a fixed address also come to collect their mail. Financial Assistance requests remains one of the top services as well.
LARS also offers vouchers for clothing at the Laurel Thrift Store weekly as well as vouchers for furniture and clothing for other locations that LARS has also partnered with. LARS does intakes for the Winter Shelter which is another popular referral.
LARS is required to use the VI SPDAT Screening tool if someone is interested in pursuing housing. LARS offers this to anyone who they believe is eligible in rapid re-housing, permanent housing, and transitional housing. The results are then shared with the County. There is a VI SPDAT for Families and one for Individuals.
Item # 5 on agenda: What services are currently needed, identify gaps?
- Domestic Violence Assistance
- Employment Services
- Finding a Psychiatrist that accepts Medicaid
- Services for the LGBT Community
This discussion will be continued at the next meeting
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 7:25 p.m.