MCCH part of the Montgomery County government?
MCCH is a private, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We do
receive some government support, as well as private funding from individuals,
foundations, and corporations, to run our programs.
How big is the “homeless problem”
here in Montgomery County?
The 2012 (Point-in-Time Count of Homeless
Persons in the Metropolitan
Washington Region) or PIT report, found on one given day, 982 (1,132 in 2011) persons are experiencing homelessness in Montgomery County, and out of this number 229 of them are children.
Do you work with other shelters in
Yes, we work closely with other providers of homeless services
on a daily basis.
Should I give money to people on the
street who say they are homeless?
It is a personal decision whether or not to give to panhandlers
on the street. MCCH recommends giving our “street cards”
out when people ask for money. These cards list a variety of resources
for people in need, including food, clothing, and shelter. Contact
us for street cards.
What is MCCH doing about the medically vunerable?
Serving the Medically Vulnerable Homeless Population in Montgomery County
(full article from Summer 2012 newsletter)
Many homeless adults in our community possess a wide range of health issues. A recent survey of 348 homeless adults in five Montgomery County shelters by the Department of Health and Human Services found that 37% reported one or more medically fragile conditions. However, most of these medically vulnerable individuals are still able to live independently if they have access to health care and other support services and do not need to be placed in assisted living or nursing home environments.
There are a variety of clinics, as well as outreach, housing, and shelter-based programs, which provide medical services to homeless populations in our County. In fact, all Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless (MCCH) programs – permanent housing, Safe Havens and the HBCAC men’s emergency shelter – connect our clients to needed health care on-site or through case management which enables them to maintain their housing stability as well as their behavioral and physical health. See “Health Issues in MCCH Clients” on page 5 for more information on our clients’ health needs.
Montgomery County is focusing on homeless people with medical vulnerabilities as a core component of its strategy to end chronic homelessness. MCCH is a leading voice in discussions about how best to serve this population, including prioritization for permanent supportive housing.
The Montgomery County Health and Human Services Continuum of Care (CoC) Leadership Workgroup, of which MCCH is a member, recently joined the 100,000 Homes Campaign. This national coalition of hundreds of communities is working to rapidly accelerate the rate of housing placement for the most long-term and vulnerable homeless people and to find and house 100,000 of these individuals and families over the next three years. The Campaign’s work is driven by multiple studies demonstrating that homeless individuals are three to four times more likely to die prematurely than the general population, resulting in an average lifespan 25 years shorter than that of the average American. Many localities across the country, including Bethesda, Maryland, are using the Vulnerability Index survey tool which helps to determine priority and speed up housing placement.
MCCH Executive Director Susie Sinclair-Smith advocated strongly for our county-wide CoC to join the Campaign. “We look forward to working with our many partners to further improve access to services to those with serious health issues – and to increase the supply of permanent supportive housing for them,” she says.
Montgomery County may again add additional questions to the annual Point-in-Time (PIT) homeless survey next January to garner more detailed information about the medical and mental health characteristics of those experiencing homelessness.
The FY13 County health and human services budget includes $2.2 million for the Housing First fund from the recordation tax. These funds may in part be used to fund case management services and financial support for permanent supportive housing for the medically vulnerable. Also, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – recently characterized by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as one of the most significant laws in the fight against homelessness – expands Medicaid coverage to those at or below 133% of the federal poverty level by 2014. The ACA will also expand Medicaid to cover, for the first time, low-income adults without children. Many jurisdictions are structuring these new resources through their Medicaid State Plans to fund services to help stabilize clients living in permanent supportive housing.
Sinclair-Smith feels very positive about these recent developments; “MCCH is the largest provider of shelter and permanent supportive housing to the homeless and formerly homeless in the community and we have had great success in supporting housing stability for our medically vulnerable clients. This focused attention is going to make a real difference for those who need it most.”