New Day News
A Dream Comes True
Since it's beginning, New Day Maryland's goal has been to provide a one-stop service center to assist people experiencing homelessness. The year 2023 will see the opening of an answer to that dream, provided by the City of Laurel. Lets look at what is happening on the new Multiservice Center.
City of Laurel
Purchased in 2020 for $2.4 million, 204 Ft. Meade Road was acquired with the purpose of developing a Multiservice Center, where residents of the Greater Laurel area could obtain a variety of human services, as well as utilize short-term housing during times of transition. Maintained by the Department of Parks & Recreation, this facility is owned by the City of Laurel, but seeks to coordinate with various agencies in and surrounding Laurel to establish and sustain daily operations. Services to be provided at the Laurel Multiservice Center (LMSC) were selected based on the recommendations of the City of Laurel Homelessness and Community Task Force, which was formed in 2019. By establishing a location where these services can be streamlined, it is our mission to provide equitable service, increased opportunity, and enhanced hope for the future through the establishment of individual independency.
The City of Laurel Homelessness and Community Services Task Force set out on a mission to enhance wellness and reduce homelessness within the Greater Laurel area through the streamlined provision of human services, limiting transportation barriers and resource access, strengthening the economic and social stability of the community. The Task Force conducted a capability analysis to identify resource gaps, outlining services to be provided at the LMSC, as well as completed a feasibility study to determine infrastructure needed to support such activities. Based on recommendations provided by the Task Force following a feasibility study in 2015, the following list of needed services were identified and shall be provided to the community at the LMSC:
- Individual men, women, and family short-term housing units
- Overnight sheltering
- Catering/prepared meal service kitchen and delivery window
- Postal boxes/package delivery area
- Barber/hair salon
- Food pantry storage/distribution
- Learning center/job training
- Medical suite with space for physician and nursing staff
- Clothing distribution center
- Laundry room
- Showering facilities
To promote stability and self-sufficiency amongst vulnerable populations through the provision of human services. Such efforts aim to promote hope for the future, equity of service, and strengthening of community throughout the Greater City of Laurel area.
Enhance wellness and reduce homelessness through the provision of resources and the promotion of independent living.
- Be part of the solution of homelessness in the Greater Laurel area;
- Provide support services for individuals experiencing homelessness or near homelessness;
- Maintain ongoing partnerships with other local service organizations and religious affiliates in offering resources to the community;
- Provide emergency sheltering and daytime respite;
- Provide onsite medical and mental health evaluation and treatment, including one-on-one case management and counseling services;
- Be part of the solution to address food insecurity in the Greater Laurel area;
- Assist in the transition of temporary sheltering to long-term housing.
Who We Serve
The LMSC aims to serve vulnerable populations impacted by homelessness, near homelessness, or lack of accessibility to resources needed to promote wellness and sustain life. Due to the Multiservice Center’s unique location in Laurel, the Center seeks to serve vulnerable communities in three counties: Prince George’s, Anne Arundel, and Howard. Easily accessible using public transportation, the Center is optimally located to provide the greatest amount of access to a variety of communities.
Within the Greater Laurel area, 19 shelters exist throughout Anne Arundel, Howard, and Prince George’s Counties (Homeless Shelter Directory, 2022). Unfortunately, many homeless individuals remain unserved by these services, whether due to a lack of accessibility, limited availability, or other service barriers. While these 19 shelters provide necessary resources for the community, the establishment of a multiservice center will not only aim to house individuals temporarily, but provide resources to establish independence, decreasing community need. In addition, the LMSC would have the capacity to provide resources not only to the homeless, but to the near homeless, to prevent potential homelessness from occurring. The LMSC will aim to meet the unique needs of individuals, no matter how big or how small, to strengthen accessibility to resources, whether single use or continued provision.
The City of Laurel aims to achieve financial stability of the LMSC by solidifying various streams of funding, including government support, private contribution, and public donation. A combination of City funds and grant funding have been used thus far to complete the purchase and renovation costs of the building. Budget preparations for the FY2024 budget are underway and will provide further information on budgetary needs to maintain the facility once it is fully-functioning.
In September 2022, the City of Laurel hired Haley Cifizzari as the Director for the Center, who will oversee the development of protocols, policies, and operational procedures. For questions regarding the Center, please contact Haley Cifizzari at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 240-917-9318.
Board of Directors
In November 2022 the founding members of the Board of Directors were appointed by Mayor Craig A. Moe. On December 8, 2022, the Articles of Incorporation were approved by the State of Maryland for the City of Laurel Multiservice Center, Inc. The members of the Board shall exercise all corporate powers and manage the business and affairs of the Corporation. The members of the Board shall set policy and procedure for the Multiservice Center in coordination with the City of Laurel. The members of the Board of Directors are as follows:
- Joanne Hall Barr- President
- Bill Bailey- Vice President
- Michele Saylor- Treasurer
- Ana Navarro- Secretary
- Stephanie Hammond- Member
- Michael Schaffer- Member
- Phillip Ott- Member
- Shannon Mouton- Member
- Valerie Nicholas- Member
- Michael Walls- Legal Counsel (ex officio)
The first phase of construction includes the conversion of the existing gymnasium, two multipurpose rooms, and multiple storage rooms for equipment and emergency supplies. The entire roof of the building will be replaced under this phase, as well as installation of a new HVAC and sprinkler system. This area will be used to generate revenue under the Department of Parks and Recreation, as well as for use by the residents of the LMSC to promote physical wellness. After soliciting bids, Keller Brothers was selected with the lowest bid at $3,961,500. Construction began in December 2022 and has a projected completion date of May 2023.
The second phase of construction will focus on the resource center and short-term housing sections. The building will be modified to accommodate all proposed services of the LMSC. After soliciting bids, Keller Brothers was selected in February 2023 with a bid of $9,612,061. Construction for Phase II has a projected completion date of October 2023.