Emergency shelters are places for people to live temporarily when they can't live in their previous residence. In Prince George’s County to ensure we have a coordinated Continuum of Care system for homeless people, we require that all referrals to County Shelters be made through the Homeless Hotline. You can call the Homeless Hotline toll free in the State of Maryland at (888) 731-0999, or at (301) 864-7095. The Hotline provides emergency answering and referral for the homeless 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Individuals and families in need must call the Homeless Hotline directly. Please be aware there is no waiting list and referrals are made on a first come, first serve basis.
The following information provides some general answers about the shelter process.
What will happen when I call the Homeless Hotline?
You will be asked a few questions to determine your eligibility for shelter. They'll need the following information:
- Proof of residence; lease, utility bills
- A valid photo identification, voter registration or Military ID
- Be homeless or within 7 days of becoming homeless
- Have not been in a County shelter for the past 12 months
- Number, ages and gender of all people in your family.
The following documents may be required as well:
- Child support document
- Court papers
- Department of Social Services benefit document
- Eviction notice
- Hospital bill
- Jail ID or release paper
- Copy of paystub indicating Prince George’s County address
- Current School papers
- Unemployment document or stub
- Prince George’s County Utility bill
**Please note that many of the required documents can not be less than 30 days old and will need to have a Prince George’s County address
What should I expect when I arrive at a shelter?
When you arrive at any of the shelters, you will be interviewed by shelter staff and assigned to a case manager, who will work with you closely to learn about your strengths so they can help you. All the communication you have with them will be written and documented in your file. This information will be kept confidential unless you sign a "Consent to Release Information Form". Staff will make sure you understand all rules and regulations of the shelter "community".
Will there be rules I must follow?
In general, most of the shelters will require that you:
- Meet with a case manager promptly to establish goals that will lead to you finding permanent housing
- Sign an agreement with the shelter indicating your willingness to work toward accomplishing established goals
- Perform all required individual and group chores to maintain your dormitory or rooms.
- Adhere to mandatory safety and curfew requirements
- Pay required maintenance fees based on your income, or save at least 30% of your income toward your future living expenses
- Attend weekly meetings with your case manager to review and update service plans
- Participate in mandatory health screenings
- Adhere to non-smoking requirements where applicable
- Participate actively in job search and employment activities
- Participate in random screening for alcohol and drug abuse to find out if you need help addressing an addiction problem
- Participate in psychological assessments to see if you need care and treatment for emotional or mental health problems
- Address personal and family issues that caused you to become homeless.
How will I be helped?
Shelters provide a clean and safe environment for you and your children. A Case Manager will work with you to provide guidance and support that will help you get back on your feet. Case Managers provide:
- Intake and assessment to find out what caused your homelessness. They'll determine your needs and help you develop a service plan that will address critical issues
- Guidance and support to help you get back into the community
- Health screening to address health problems
- Drug and Alcohol screening to address substance abuse problems
- Mental Health assessment to address emotional problems
- Transportation assistance
- Job search and employment assistance
- Help locating appropriate housing
- Referral to Transitional Housing.
Shelters have the right to terminate you and your family if you fail to abide by the rules and regulations, if you make no efforts to address identified issues and concerns, or if you fail to utilize available resources and supportive services to achieve established goals.
Do I have any rights?
Yes. You have the right to appeal if you disagree with the shelter for discharging you. You can arrange for a termination hearing by asking your case manager or shelter Director for an "Appeal or Grievance Form". However, the shelter does not have to extend your stay until the decision on your appeal is made. You also have the right to appeal any decisions by the shelter to deny you benefits or services because of your sex, race, color, religious beliefs, disability or national origin.
Do I have responsibilities?
Yes. You have a responsibility to work with your case manager to achieve established goals. Staff will expect you to provide them with the correct information and documentation needed to help you move to economic independence. Willfully making false statements and withholding important information will affect the outcome of the service plan and goals you establish with the shelter. You wouldn't need this help if you weren't in trouble. Your dealings with case managers and shelter staff need to be based on a foundation of honesty.
Interpretation Services are available for Non-English Speaking customers. Please contact one of the Local Offices for assistance.
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