Updates from the September Downtown Advisory Committee meeting

Updates from the September Downtown Advisory Committee meeting

The White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee met again this past Tuesday, September 10. The majority of the meeting covered two topics: 1.) the findings from the parking study Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation recently released related to the bikeway improvements on Woodglen Drive (which was also discussed the previous night at the Implementation Advisory Committee meeting; you can read our notes from that meeting here), and 2.)  a discussion with representatives from the county’s Department of Health and Human Services, including director Uma Ahluwalia.

As BethesdaNow.com reported shortly after the meeting ended, Ahluwalia said that the county is looking to put a homeless shelter at 5320 Marinelli Road. The new shelter will replace two existing shelters in the area, the Dorothy Day Place Women’s Shelter in Rockville and the Bethesda House men’s shelter in Bethesda. Ahluwalia noted that the leases for both current facilities will soon be up, and that their conditions are subpar. The new shelter will have 18 beds for men and 19 for women. The relocation date is expected to be around May 2014.

Ahluwalia elaborated that there will be many case management services available to shelter residents, as well as a requirement that they be involved in some sort of daytime activity such as a work program, substance abuse treatment program or mental health program. There will be 24-hour monitoring services, including cameras and staff who are required to stay awake while on duty. She added that her department provides many outreach services, and encouraged those who saw something they were uncomfortable with to call DHHS (though she said that both shelters have not disrupted communities in their current locations). Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center Director Ken Hartman told the group that Bethesda Cares is also very responsive.

Ahluwalia explained that DHHS is willing to have those providing the services talk to different groups in an effort to be good neighbors.

Amy Donin


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