At a fundraising event billed as “community members donning their superhero capes to help tackle homelessness in Harford County”, two local nonprofits announced that they were going to join forces to fight homelessness in the region.
Harford Family House and Welcome One Emergency Shelter, two longtime Harford County nonprofits that address homelessness, announced their merger Wednesday night at a fundraising event in Havre de Grace.
The merger, effective July 1, combines the resources of both organizations to help eliminate chronic homelessness in the region. The newly formed organization will retain the name Harford Family House.
In February 2022, the two nonprofit organizations finalized a merger agreement aimed at leveraging the strengths of both organizations with the ultimate goal of providing more holistic and transformative services across the continuum of care for individuals and families in homelessness, according to a statement from Harford Family House.
All staff from both organizations will be retained and eligible for benefits through the new entity, according to Harford Family House. A new position of Senior Director of Homeless Services will focus on continuity and integration between shelters, while an existing staff member will transition into the role of Workforce Development Specialist , working across the organization on job training and job placement.
Welcome One Emergency Shelter CEO Liz Tutino will retire on June 30. Harford Family House CEO Robin Tomechko will serve as CEO of the combined entity, said Vashelle Nino, Harford Family House marketing and communications manager. There will be no changes to Welcome One’s opening hours or services, Nino said.
“From our perspective, the merger will be more efficient as it will create a single point of contact for the Harford Community Action Agency as it makes referrals to serve homeless individuals and families” said Cynthia Mumby, spokeswoman for the county’s homeless services department. . “Also, Harford Family House has transitional housing, so someone in the Welcome One shelter could be placed there, opening up a shelter bed.”
The announcement was made at the annual “Ahoy! Cocktails by the Bay,” which featured a themed cast of community members who raised money for the organization. The cast raised over $32,000, which is the highest by an “Ahoy!” casting to date. This year’s theme was Superheroes, and the following community members participated:
· Vickie Horne, Coordinator of Aberdeen Main Street – Catwoman;
· Jamila Mettee, accountant and HR for Frederick Ward Associates and realtor at Integrity Real Estate – Storm;
· Joy Waida, owner of Joy Home Design, Staging and Interiors – Batgirl;
· Mindy Pirczhalski, Realtor at Cummings and Co. Realtors and Ms. Central Maryland – Superwoman;
· Meggin Reeder, Financial Advisor at Northwestern Mutual – Wonder Woman;
· Susan Roarty, Director of Advancement and Alumni Relations at The John Carroll School – Captain Marvel;
· Gary Barnoff, President of Jarrettsville Federal Savings and Loan – Batman;
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· Don Curry, President of TCA Property Management Inc. – Robin;
· Joe Ayler, President of Tar Heel Construction Group – Spiderman;
· Tim Langhauser, Founder of Compass Home Group – Captain American;
· Mike Bennett, Retired US Army Sergeant Major – Superman.
Mettee received the Buoy of Hope award as top fundraiser, raising over $6,000.
Harford Family House is the largest transitional housing provider for families with homeless children and unaccompanied adults ages 18-24 in Harford County. Since 1989, they have served over 600 families with children, transforming the lives of over 1,900 people.
The Welcome One emergency shelter in Belcamp is currently the only year-round homeless shelter in Harford County, with 26 beds for men and 6 beds for women. Since its opening in 2006, more than 2,000 people have passed through its doors.