Worcester County agencies and community groups partner for Homeless Outreach

Homeless Outreach Team provides resources and services to area homeless

Ocean City, MD- Launched earlier this year, the Worcester County Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) provides support services to homeless individuals within the county. Stemming from Worcester County’s Homeless Committee, through the Local Management Board, the HOT team is a partnership between the Worcester County Health Department, Local Behavioral Health Authority, Department of Social Services, Ocean City Police Department, Diakonia, Ocean City Crisis Coalition, and Atlantic General Hospital. Launched earlier this year, the Worcester County Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) provides support services to homeless individuals within the county. Stemming from Worcester County’s Homeless Committee, through the Local Management Board, the HOT team is a partnership between the Worcester County Health Department, Local Behavioral Health Authority, Department of Social Services, Ocean City Police Department, Diakonia, Ocean City Crisis Coalition, and Atlantic General Hospital.


“Homelessness is a community problem. It’s bigger than any one agency can tackle alone and it is so important that we come together as a community to meet the needs of these individuals,” said Michael Trader, Behavioral Health Program Assistant Director for Worcester County Health Department. “This project has allowed us to break down barriers and work together to help put people on a path toward brighter futures.”

HOT conducts bi-weekly outreach as a unified group, with the goal of assessing the needs of some of the most vulnerable individuals in the county. Through this consistent outreach approach, HOT has formed relationships with not only the homeless, but the faith-based community as well. During outreach, HOT provides information and access to multiple resources including referrals to shelters and housing, information for local food pantries and soup kitchens, behavioral health and peer support referral services, and has worked towards obtaining IDs and birth certificates for individuals in need.


“It is heartwarming to see the cooperation and teamwork of all the different partners. This project has truly been a combined effort to meet the community needs. Since the HOT team has formed, the group of dedicated members have been more successful and we have reduced redundancy of efforts,” said Jessica Sexauer, Executive Director of the Local Behavioral Health Authority.


Through the partnership with OCPD and Atlantic General medical support and treatment has also provided. To date, the outreach team has helped place six homeless individuals into housing with Diakonia and other housing resources through case management. Additionally, there has been multiple individuals treated for minor illness and injuries; several have been connected to services offered by Veteran’s Affairs; and many have received behavioral health support.


With the ongoing success of HOT in the Ocean City area, the team plans to expand to the rest of the county. Many of the homeless individuals in Worcester County are not as visible as they are in Ocean City, and with the approaching winter months, the team would like to make sure that if there is a need, that it is being met. The Homeless Committee is also planning a Call to Action in January to educate and reduce the stigma around homelessness. More information will be available soon.
The Worcester County Homeless Committee is an open meeting, all are welcomed to attend. For more information call 410-632-3648.


Worcester County Local Management Board- Jessica Sexauer 410-632-3648 or Worcester County Health Department- Sandy Kerrigan 410-632-1100 ext. 1141.

 

 

 

 

 

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