An Overview of Homelessness in Maryland

Homelessness is an issue that affects every state in the country, and Maryland is no different. However, the key factors contributing to the homelessness situation in Maryland, and the assistance available, is distinct to the state. In this article, you will gain understanding about the driving forces of homelessness in Maryland, and learn about programs put in place by the state to aid individuals and families facing homelessness.

Who are Facing Homelessness in Maryland?

The homeless population in Maryland is a diverse group, encompassing individuals, families, and children from all walks of life. Homelessness does not discriminate; it can affect anyone irrespective of age, race, or gender. However, some vulnerable groups are more susceptible to homelessness, including people struggling with substance abuse, victims of domestic violence, veterans, and individuals with mental health issues.

Prevalence of Homelessness in Maryland

Homelessness in Maryland has been an escalating issue through the past decades. According to reports from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Maryland experienced an increase in homelessness from 2007 to 2016, followed by a decline but the number is yet again on an upward trajectory.

Causes of Homelessness in Maryland

Understanding the causes of homelessness can help in providing more effective solutions. One of the primary causes of homelessness in Maryland is Affordable Housing Crisis. The state has a high cost of living and there's a severe shortage of affordable rental homes available to lower-income households. Another significant factor is unemployment. Despite Maryland's relatively high average income, there are still many individuals without stable employment. Lack of jobs, coupled with the high cost of living, forces many people into homelessness. Mental health issues, substance abuse, domestic violence, and lack of accessible healthcare also contribute to this multifaceted issue.

State Government Initiatives to Address Homelessness

The state government of Maryland has multiple programs designed to address homelessness and its root causes. The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) administers the Emergency and Transitional Housing and Services Program. This program provides funding to local governments and nonprofit organizations that serve individuals and families who are homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness. In addition, the state government has the Homeless Prevention Program (HPP), which provides financial assistance to individuals and families who are in danger of eviction or foreclosure, or people facing utility cut-offs. The Maryland Department of Human Services (DHS) also offers various programs for homeless individuals and families, including Temporary Cash Assistance, Food Supplement Program, and Medical Assistance.

Shelters for the Homeless in Maryland

Maryland has a substantial network of homeless shelters providing temporary residence and services aimed at transitioning people back into housing. While shelters vary in the services they provide, typical assistance includes meals, healthcare, counseling, life skills courses, and help with finding permanent housing. Who's eligible for help? Generally, anyone facing homelessness can access these shelters. However, some shelters provide specialized assistance to certain vulnerable groups, such as women fleeing domestic violence, veterans, or individuals in recovery.

Support for Non-profit Shelters

The state government, through the DHCD, provides funding support to non-profit shelters to meet their budget needs.


Homelessness is a challenging issue, but the state of Maryland is actively working to reduce it, providing support and services to those in need. If you or someone you know is facing homelessness, reach out to the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, the Department of Human Services, or any local shelter. Remember, there is always help available, and you are not alone in your plight.

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