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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Howard County residents you may not have met

Grassroots has developed a Day Resource Center on Route 1 in North Laurel to serve the homeless population in that area of the County. The Center provides support through clothing, health care, laundry service, a place to get a shower, food and access to computers. According to Doug Carl the manager of the Center they serve over 200 people a month. Of that number 30 are new individuals. There are probably 100 core individuals that they serve on a regular basis.

The diversity of Howard County is seen in comparing the areas along Route 1 with the more affluent areas of Howard County. Even though Howard County is the wealthiest County in the wealthiest State in the Country it doesn’t mean that we don't have areas where low-income individuals still live. As Doug explained, the individuals using the Center come from a population that may be living in tents in wooded areas, in inexpensive motels along Route 1 or moving from one temporary housing situation to another or what is commonly called “couch surfing.” The area along Route 1 is attractive to this population because of the inexpensive motels, industries that use day laborers and cheap fast food restaurants. In the past the Laurel Race track may even have been a source of labor. Activity at the track has declined the past few years and this opportunity may not be much of a factor for a homeless population any longer.

With the decrease in the availability of land to develop in Howard County this section of the County will see a dramatic change in the next 10-20 years. You can see the loss of inexpensive housing offered in the trailer parks disappearing along Route 1. New housing and commercial development will push this population out of the County. The only question is where will they go?

If you would be interested in volunteering or make a donation to the Center you can go to their website at http://rt1daycenter.wikispaces.com/ or their blog at http://daycenternews.blogspot.com/2011/03/donations.html

Go to my friend Tom Coale’s effort to raise $1500 for Grassroots at http://www.crowdrise.com/TheRising

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