Who exactly does Harford Family House serve?

Harford Family House serves families experiencing homelessness with children. This could be a mom and children, a dad and children, or a married couple with children. It could also be another adult, such as a grandmother or aunt, with legal custody of children under the age of 18.  We also serve unaccompanied young adults ages 18 to 24 who are experiencing homelessness.

How can a family receive help from Harford Family House?

Harford Family House currently receives all service referrals from the Harford Community Action Agency who screens prospective families for eligibility.

Is there really a homeless problem in Harford County?

Yes. According to the Point-in-Time count conducted in January 2020, there were more than 220 individuals either living on the streets, in shelters, or in other forms of transitional housing, an estimated 36% who were children. More recent data is available on a national scale. According to the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, nationally (on a single night in January 2019), 171,670 people experienced homelessness as part of a family with children, representing 30% of the total population experiencing homelessness on this night in 2019. Additionally, 35,000 single adults under the age of 25 experienced homelessness on this single night. Learn more HERE.

Why don’t I see homeless families living in the streets?

Families experiencing homelessness do whatever is necessary to keep their children off the streets. They are typically working at low paying jobs during the day while their children are in school or with a sitter. They move from place to place or stay in cheap motels until they run out of funds. Eventually, they end up sleeping in their cars, staying in tents, or temporarily doubling-up with friends or family members.

Aren’t the homeless all alcoholics, mentally ill or drug addicts?

Fewer than 10% of the families HFH serve are experiencing homelessness due to mental illness and none of the families we serve are experiencing homelessness due to substance abuse. Mental illness and substance abuse are more of a factor in the single adult homeless population. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, families typically become homeless as a result of some unforeseen financial crisis that prevents them from being able to hold on to housing. The families we serve often have lost a job, have poor support systems, damaged credit and low skill sets resulting in low wage earnings. Medical illness and domestic violence are also issues for many families.

How can a person be homeless if they have a job?

Currently, 46% of the families HFH serves have a job but they are low paying jobs. In Harford County, the fair market rent for a two-bedroom home is $1243. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a wage of $29.04/hour, 40 hours a week, is needed to afford housing costs of no more than 30% of a family’s income. That translates to 3.4 minimum wage earners per household.

How long is your waiting list?

Harford Family House receives all of its referrals through the Harford Community Action Agency who manages the waiting list of families in need.

I have a friend who is about to lose their home. What should they do?

  • For resources pertaining to homeownership, rentals and foreclosures in Maryland, click HERE.
  • For resources pertaining to homeless prevention and housing in Harford County, click HERE.

What is our community doing to help end homelessness?

HFH participates in the Harford Roundtable, a committee formed to create a network of services needed to help a homeless person or family become self-sufficient. This is known as a “Continuum of Care”, and the Harford Roundtable develops and executes the plans in the Homeless Continuum of Care System.

The Community Development Review Board (CDRB) comes together to review and make recommendations for the funding that’s awarded for activities that support the goals outlined by the County in the Consolidated Plan (FY2013-FY2017), which is the County’s plan to serve its low-income residents.

How effective is HFH in transitioning families experiencing homelessness to permanent stable housing?

In FY 2018, 88% of the families who left the program obtained permanent stable housing. Through the services and programs provided, families were linked to the resources and skills they needed to return to self-sufficiency. They were given a “hand up,” not a “hand out.”

What can I do to help?

Whatever your gift or talent, Harford Family House can help you use your time, talents and resources to help homeless families. Please visit our Get Involved section for more details.

I have some furniture I would like to donate. Does Harford Family House pick up items?

While we greatly appreciate all donations, we have limited storage space for furniture. Please take a look at our Donation Wish List for most needed items or our Furniture Needs List.

At this time, we are only able to accept furniture that can be dropped off at our facility. Please contact us at (410) 273-6700 or use our Contact Us form to make arrangements. Please note, our Summer office hours (May 24th through Sept. 3rd, 2021) are Monday through Thursday, 8am to 5pm and Friday, 8am to 2pm.

I have some things I would like to donate. Can I drop them off?

We are always grateful for donations!  Please review our Donation Wish List for our current list of most needed items.  Please note, this list often changes rapidly. You can also check out our Amazon Wish List.

Interested in hosting a donation supply drive? Please call our office at 410-273-6700 or use our Contact Us form to discuss options.  Please note, our Summer office hours (May 24th through Sept. 3rd, 2021) are Monday through Thursday, 8am to 5pm and Friday, 8am to 2pm.  Our Supply Closet List gives you an idea of the kinds of things needed by the families we serve.

Items We Do Not Accept

    • Clothing, shoes, outerwear, etc.
    • Used bedding, towels, or other linens
    • Used toys
    • Books
    • Trial or travel size items
    • Expired products
    • Used or opened products
    • TV’s, DVD’s, or other electronics
    • Pull-out or sectional sofas/loveseats
    • Recliner chairs
    • Broken, dirty, torn, or stained items
    • Knick-knacks, mirrors, collectibles, or any home décor items
    • Candles
    • Mugs, wine glasses, or any alcohol related items
    • Recalled items

If I give a donation, where does my money go?

100% of your donation will remain in Harford County to support the work of Harford Family House. We are a 501 (c)(3) organization and donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. A copy of our current financial statement is available by request – mbiggs@harfordfamilyhouse.org.


Stay Updated

Harford Family House Harford Family House Facebook page link HFH Twitter page link Harford Family House YouTube channel