CITY OF LAUREL HOMELESSNESS TASK FORCE AGENDA
PARKS AND RECREATION MAINTENANCE FACILITY
TUESDAY, JUNE 11, 2019- 6:00 P.M.
- Review of Goals
- Election of Co- Chairs
- Discussion of Laurel Homeless Population Demographics
- Innovation Models
CITY OF LAUREL
HOMELESSNESS TASK FORCE
MEETING MINUTES – June 11, 2019
The meeting convened at the Parks and Recreation Maintenance facility at 6:05 p.m. with Chairman Donald Whitehead presiding. Committee Members Present: Ms. Leah Paley, Pastor Gregory Strong, Ms. Jenny Wall, Ms. Stephanie Hammond, Dr. Michael Schaffer, Mr. Phillip Ott, Ms. Ruth Walls, Mr. Brencis Smith, Sergeant Charles Boswell, and Ms. Ana Navarro.
The minutes of the May 7, 2019 meeting were approved as written on motion by Ms. Paley, seconded by Mr. Schaffer and carried on a vote of all the other members present.
Task Force Remarks:
The mission of this task force is to help decide what the shelter will look like, what kinds of services would be provided in the shelter, who’s going to provide those services and also provide a size recommendation. Initially, it was said that the shelter would hold from 20-30 people but after gathering information in terms of numbers the population may be more than that and more room may be needed.
A discussion ensued about the timeframe of the project and the proposed location. There were concerns about the location as well as the ongoing cost for the shelter vs. the other services which would not be as costly given, they are resources to help people move forward. There were also concerns about who would be running the shelter and making sure they were equipped and had the experience and funds on hand. Also, since the space being looked at would only provide temporary placement it is important to know what a temporary space would look like and what the plan of permanency would be.
Comments were made about possibly having subsidized funding through the State, HUD, and the County. It was said that it would also be ideal to have the support of other organizations/groups. There could also be a potential partnership with Employ Prince’s George’s who is a group that specializes in workforce development. Mental health groups who are SOAR oriented would also be ideal.
Per data from LARS, approximately 151 people needed assistance, July through mid-April. On a day to day basis, how many people are living on the streets of Laurel? Is it 150 people? Probably not, but it changes depending on the weather conditions.
Standalone shelters in Prince George’s County all require some level of proof of residency when receiving funds from the County. HUD funds require ADA accessibility, and they also require that the shelter be a low barrier shelter which means that you will have people who are actively using or drinking.
In general, the facility will have to be professionally staffed for people who need attention to harm reduction, trauma-informed care people who are in this situation because of some level of trauma.
People normally go to where the services are provided. Should a needs assessment survey be developed which includes questions like what’s missing, what are the service gaps, what’s preventing people from being successful? LARS has been providing this optional assessment survey to the people they serve.
Federal Government is not open to funding transitional housing anymore. Concerns about not having a group that has the funds readily to continually operate the shelter if it’s not being prioritized. At the Federal level, everything is geared towards permanent supportive housing and because of that, there is not much money for new programs or innovative programs.
Most cities have had to resort to State funds and City funds. The funding question is a long term question. The task force has to work on demonstrating the need first.
Worth having a conversation with the Department of Social Services and Prince George’s County concerning the continuum of care as the lead collaborative group. We should let them know what we are proposing.
When thinking about the multi-services center there could be services that people who are not homeless would need to access. It’s important to look at the demographics of this community not only those who are homeless but also those who are unstably housed. Who are the chronically homeless people? Who are the episodically homeless? Will this be a transitional program or a low barrier shelter?
We’ve seen a younger population because of Opioid addictions as well as the economy. The majority of the people that are in need are not homeless, affordable housing is a big piece that needs to be looked on. There is also an increasing Hispanic population which we need to communicate with as well.
At this point, a motion was made to elect Dr. Schaffer and Mr. Smith as the task force Co-Chairs. A motion was made by Ms. Paley, Seconded by Dr. Shaffer and carried on a vote from all the members present.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 7:15 p.m.