Thursday, April 10, 2008


Homeless Residents Could Get Housing

Seven of Laurel's chronically homeless residents could be placed in permanent housing through a $160,000 annual federal grant.

Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services, a nonprofit agency that serves homeless and low-income residents in the greater Laurel area, expects to receive the funding by July, Executive Director Nancy Graham said. The residents could be housed by the end of the year.

The grant was part of $3.9 million in funding that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded in January to 11 private and county-sponsored homeless and housing programs in Prince George's County. The Laurel grant, renewable every two years, will pay for the rent on seven individual housing units. The units have not been selected, but they will most likely be spread throughout the city, Graham said.

The Laurel agency currently provides 10 transitional housing units for families, all of which are occupied. Families can stay in those units for up to 24 months. Tenants in the new permanent-housing program will be allowed to live in their units indefinitely, Graham said.

To qualify, an individual must be chronically homeless, which HUD defines as an adult who has been on the street or in an emergency shelter for one year or on four occasions over three years and has a disability resulting from substance abuse or physical or mental illness.

Donny Phillips, director of emergency and homeless services for the Laurel agency, estimates that 20 to 30 chronically homeless people live in Laurel.

The grant will pay for a full-time case manager, who will help the men and women with life skills and rehabilitation, once they are placed.

Congregations in the area have agreed to assist with food, furniture and clothing.

"You'll have seven very difficult, chronically homeless people that will be immediately off the streets," Graham said. "Before, people were saying you have to fix them before you put them in housing, and with this model, you take them, put them in housing and you then help them to fix their problems ."

-- ELAHE IZADI, Gazette Staff Writer


Funds for New Library In Proposed County Budget

About $1 million has been included in the county's proposed fiscal 2009 budget for a Glenn Dale branch library, whose completion date is projected for June 2015.

The 25,000- to 50,000-square-foot building is expected to cost about $11.6 million.

Dannielle Glaros, legislative aide to Prince George's County Council member Eric Olson (D-College Park), who was instrumental in getting the $1.05 million added to the proposed budget, said the funding would help jump-start the planning process.

"We are inching our way toward getting a library in Glenn Dale," Glaros said. "It's definitely still a ways away, but we're making progress on it."

The county has not identified where the library would be. The Lanham-Seabrook-Glenn Dale Master Plan, which will be updated in July 2009 after a series of public meetings, has been identified as a suitable site.

Glenn Dale residents have been lobbying for a library for several years.

-- JONATHAN STEIN, Gazette Staff Writer

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