Somerset County’s only homeless shelter days away from closing
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. – Somerset County’s only homeless shelter is just days away from closing its doors. The Lower Shore Shelter says the funding just isn’t there right now so they’re making a desperate plea to the community for help.
“Our water and sewer bills are high. You can imagine running a shelter with the expenses for insurance,” says Joyce Cottman, the Executive Director for the Lower Shore Shelter. It costs about $300,000 a year to run the Lower Shore Shelter in Princess Anne but the shelter’s money is quickly running out. Starting March 13th, they’re temporarily closing for fourth months until July 13th.
“We can get grants for programs for things that we run. But getting funding that will help us pay the electric, pay the utilities, the insurance and things of that nature that’s not covered by grants,” says Cottman.
The County has tried to help with funding by allotting more than budgeted, almost $100,000 over the past two years. But we’re told there’s only so much they can do. “Actually with them having their own board they are really responsible for their own financial well-being,” says Craig Mathies, the President of the Somerset County Commissioners.
Cottman says they’re actually working to reestablish the Somerset Committee for the Homeless. The board which is volunteer based helps with fundraising and recruiting consistent donors. “We need sustainable help. Help that we can rely on that’s going to come in monthly,” says Cottman.
Cottman believes the hardest part about finding a stable board and donors is that the shelter is still new to the area. It’s only two years old but those who are familiar recognize how important it is for the community. “It is a very vital resource. They’ve done a tremendous job with helping those who previously were homeless they’ve helped them with securing housing,” says Mathies.
“It’s very important that we get back to our business as soon as possible,” says Cottman.
The shelter decided March 13th was the best date to stop services because that’s when the current cycle of residents will be at the end of their 90 day limit. Administrative staff will keep working once the shelter closes in order to pay bills and research more opportunities for funding.
Last year the shelter helped 191 people including 50 kids, with an average of 20 people per day.
To donate to the shelter call 443-888-6160 or mail a donation to the following address: Somerset Committee for the Homeless Inc., P.O. Box 11, Princess Anne, MD 21853. Donations are tax deductible.