The first-ever Off the Streets Event to benefit Harford Family House was a huge success!
A year ago, in March 2020, Harford Family House was getting ready for the inaugural Off The Streets. Then… COVID-19 hit and you know the rest! After a challenging year for all of us, Harford Family House was finally able to host this exciting effort to raise both awareness of the issue of homelessness in our community and the critical funds needed to address the needs of those experiencing homelessness. This year, instead of gathering at Ripken Stadium, like originally planned, people were able to sleep-out anywhere! The event was not about pretending to be homeless, it was a demonstration to those experiencing homelessness – deciding that we can’t stay indoors while so many families remain outside. The event was a hit among the community raising much-needed funds for Harford County’s families with children experiencing homelessness as well as unaccompanied young adults ages 18-24. This inaugural event was successful thanks in large part to our sponsors and to the more than 130 people who participated by giving up their warm bed for a night so that someone who had been experiencing homelessness could have a safe place to sleep at Harford Family House. A special thank you to Tar Heel Construction, presenting sponsor of this event, and to event co-chairs, Elizabeth Mosser from Harford Community College and Will Reiber from the Aberdeen Police Department for making this event possible.
In Harford County, 47% of those experiencing homelessness were in households with children. Also, Harford County Public Schools reported 401 students in the HCPS system were considered to be experiencing homelessness during the 2019-2020 school year. These are just a few statistics that encouraged community members to participate in the sleep-out.
Attendees were able to follow a schedule of “events” on Harford Family House’s Facebook Page during the night of the event. Harford Family House also created a KudoBoard where participants could upload pictures to a page where it was shared with the other participates. Even though everyone wasn’t able to sleep out together, people still had a sense of togetherness through social media and online platforms.
“Thanks to everyone who registered and fundraised to support this awesome one-of-a kind event. Your support means the world to us! ” says Robin Tomechko, CEO of Harford Family House. “During this past year, Harford Family House has provided a home for many families and young adults during a time when being able to stay at home was essential to the health and well-being of our community. Now, as our economy continues to open up and things begin to return to some kind of normal for the majority of us, we anticipate that the need for our services will be even greater. This national crisis has impacted all of us in some way, but it has had a disproportionate impact on our most vulnerable neighbors- those who are experiencing homelessness and those who were on the verge of experiencing homelessness before this crisis began. Your support of this event is providing a beacon of hope to our community as we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
About Harford Family House (http://www.harfordfamilyhouse.org/)
Harford Family House, Inc. assists families with children and unaccompanied young adults achieve independency through housing, support and resources dedicated to improving the financial stability and mental wellbeing of its clients experiencing homelessness. It was established in 1989 and is the largest organization in Harford County providing services to those in Harford County who are experiencing homelessness.www.harfordfamilyhouse.org.