Hope and help for homeless at DCTC

Dorchester Banner/Dave Ryan
From the left, Cindy Smith, Gloria Cornish, Rosetta Brown, Connie Barnett and Lynette Wongus were gathered at Delmarva Community Service’s table during the Help, Hope & Housing Community Resource Day on Aug. 17.

CAMBRIDGE – There was a strong turnout on Aug. 17 at the Help, Hope & Housing Community Resource Day at the Dorchester Career and Technology Center. Sponsored by the Dorchester County Department of Social Services, the event drew together a wide variety of agencies that work to assist the homeless and those in danger of losing their homes.
“This is like a one-stop shop of all the resources they might need,” DSS staffer Clara Savage said. Tables were set up in a common room and the wide entrance hallway, with agencies specializing not only in housing, but also health, employment, and government services.
Kathleen Rineholt of DSS was one of the organizers, who said they were ready for a crowd. “This is the seventh year we’ve done it,” she said. “We have prepared for about 200.”
Ms. Rineholt spoke about how the reality of the current homelessness situation in the county sometimes doesn’t match the common perception.
“There’s no one picture of homelessness anymore,” she said, remembering some individuals who keep themselves well groomed and don’t look the part of stereotypical homeless men.
And it’s not only adults, either. “We have more families with children, so that’s very upsetting,” she said.
Lynette Wongus stopped by DCTC, and ended up with a good lead for a new job. She liked what she saw, saying, “It’s a much needed event in this community. I think people do themselves a disservice by not attending.”
Tony Jones was on hand with Support Services for Veteran Families, based in St. James A.M.E. Zion Church in Salisbury. His organization provides housing assistance, transportation, financial planning, and security/utility deposits to help vets get established in a home.
It’s a task that has a significant need in the area. “Since 2013, we’ve helped almost 400 veterans,” Mr. Jones said.
Staff from Delmarva Community Services, Inc. (DCS) had a table as well, distributing information on public transportation – often crucial in helping a person to maintain a job – and financial services and advice.
“We still do taxes, people can get their taxes done for free,” Gloria Cornish said. Properly prepared tax returns can sometimes save a person enough cash to make a rent or mortgage payment, and that could be the difference between having a home and being on the street.
And then DCS has other programs to provide immediate help to people in danger of losing their home. Rosetta Brown said, “If they’re facing eviction, we have funds that will stop the eviction.”
To learn more about the variety of assistance available, contact the Dorchester County Department of Social Services at 410-901-4100, visit their offices at 627 Race St. in Cambridge, or go to wwwdorchesterdss.org.

Dave Ryan is editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at dryan@newszap.com.

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