Per Montgomery County:
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, December 29, 2021
Montgomery County’s Department of General Service (DGS) has announced the expected project completion date for the Nebel Street Homeless Shelter will be delayed several weeks. The new expected completion date allows a street utility project to be wrapped up. The utility project must be completed by the utility company to allow DGS to be able to access the gas and water main lines.
The Nebel Street facility is a critical project that will provide temporary shelter for individuals experiencing homelessness and will provide associated services which are insufficient for the current population and future projections. DGS purchased the two-story building located at 11600 Nebel Street in North Bethesda to provide sleeping quarters, meals, and medical and case management services. This new facility will enable the County to implement its new emergency shelter policy for the unhoused population so that they have access to year-round shelter and a temporary place to spend their days until they are connected to permanent housing.
The County’s previous policy offered limited access to shelter from April to October. During hypothermia season, shelter bed capacity expanded but without support services or day-time operations. This new policy is a priority for Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and will enable shelter residents to get the services and assistance they need in one facility. Although emergency shelter does not end homelessness, the expansion of year-round beds and the new facility ensures that people are not sleeping outside and are rapidly connected to housing resources.
“The Nebel shelter project had been progressing as planned, but the project delay due to the utility work and supply chain issues is unfortunate,” said DGS Director David Dise. “We are sourcing other suppliers and are in regular contact with senior management of Pepco, Washington Gas and WSSC, all of whom are expediting the street utility work. While it is good news there is permanent place for the shelter and a project design that will more effectively serve those in need of shelter, the project delay impacts those who reside in the temporary shelter, the Recreation Department and community members who have waited for their community recreation center and senior center to be reopened.”
The Long Branch Community Recreation Center set up as a temporary shelter on March 31, 2020, during the time when the County experienced a surge in COVID-19 cases. Due to COVID-19, the maximum occupancy at each homeless shelter decreased to allow for social distancing and spacing of beds.
The 30,000 square-foot building is being renovated from commercial office use to a homeless shelter with 200 beds and sleeping and living areas. This facility will ensure that a full complement of homeless services is available for men in need of emergency shelter.
“The project delay impacts our spring programming,” said Recreation Department Director Robin Riley. “We are currently doing an extensive job recruitment search to find a community recreation center director who can effectively lead the programming at the diverse, well-loved and much needed Long Branch Community Recreation Center.”
“I am grateful for the ongoing work of our community partners who have worked to support the Long Branch community,” Riley continued. “These community members and organizations such as CHEER (Community Health and Empowerment through Education and Research) have ensured that families have access to health services including COVID-19 vaccination clinics; coordinated community recreation and youth development activities; organized and coordinated clothing and food access drives; provided rental and housing support and more.”
The reopening of the community recreation center is expected to take place this spring. The estimated project cost is $8.1 million.
For more information, visit the DGS website.