ANNAPOLIS — Cecil County’s only emergency homeless shelter got a large infusion of programming funds on Monday, Governor Larry Hogan’s office announced.

The Hogan administration is awarding $1.4 million total for three counties to assist Maryland’s homelessness prevention efforts, with Cecil County’s Meeting Ground being awarded $376,656 to hire staff to implement a coordinated point of entry for persons needing service, and for as-needed emergency sheltering.

The funds will come from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s Community Development Block Grant program (CDBG), officials said.

“We have made significant progress to reduce homelessness in Maryland by enhancing the way we administer essential resources to those in need, and by partnering with dedicated programs and organizations across our state,” said Hogan. “Our administration will continue working hard to ensure the safety and security of our most vulnerable citizens.”

Other programs receiving funding are in Carroll and Charles counties. Family and Children’s Services of Central Maryland in Carroll County will receive $800,000 to construct a 10,000-square-foot addition onto a building in Westminster, which will include a shelter for victims of elder abuse and domestic violence and offices for case management, counseling and operations. In Charles County, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, Inc. will get $200,000 to hire staff to serve persons living in their newly constructed shelter in Waldorf.

“Thanks to Governor Hogan’s commitment, we have seen a historic reduction in homelessness throughout our state,” said Maryland Housing Secretary Kenneth C. Holt. “These awards will help counties sustain this momentum as winter approaches and there is greater need for resources.”

Overall homelessness has been reduced by more than 9% since 2017, according to data from the 2019 Point-in-Time Count. The number of chronically homeless individuals dropped by nearly 15% and veterans experiencing homelessness declined by nearly 9%, Hogan administration officials said. Conducted by the state’s 16 designated Continuums of Care and supported by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, the Point-in-time Count is a count and survey of homeless persons on a single night in January by local homelessness service providers.

In Fiscal Year 2020, the state’s housing department allocated nearly $7.8 million in CDBG funding by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In addition to the homelessness awards, CDBG funding is being used for previously announced community development and infrastructure projects and special projects across the state.

Requests for comment from Meeting Ground were not answered by press time, but this funding is part of our ongoing coverage of non-profits and housing challenges in the county. Updates are sure to follow in the new year.

For more information on Maryland’s homelessness reduction initiatives, visit: https://dhcd.maryland.gov/HomelessServices/.

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