Montgomery County approves extending homelessness assistance deadline, acquiring building for families

Montgomery County Commissioners Court
Montgomery County commissioners held a special meeting June 30 in Conroe. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)

Montgomery County commissioners held a special meeting June 30 in Conroe. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)

Montgomery County Commissioners Court approved two items at a special meeting June 30 relating to homelessness assistance and prevention, extending the application period for a funding program and approving the acquisition of building that will shelter homeless families.

Montgomery County Community Development was notified it had received $2.41 million in Round 1 Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funding in April, according to Community Development Director Joanne Ducharme. She said at the time the funding would help 935 households to avoid eviction and homelessness.

At the June 30 meeting, the court approved a resolution to expand applications for the county's rental and mortgage assistance program until Sept. 15 and allow several designated nonprofits to make direct payments to mortgagors and landlords with CARES ACT funds for homelessness prevention.

Commissioners also approved Round 2 of Emergency Solutions Grant funds for the homeless. The funds will be used to repurpose a building for use as a homeless family shelter and will isolate homeless families to avoid contagion during the coronavirus outbreak, Ducharme said.

The Montgomery County-based nonprofit Family Promise will oversee the program, Ducharme said. The nonprofit has previously worked to provide shelter at churches to help stabilize homeless families, but since many churches have been closed during the pandemic, the organization has been paying for motels, Executive Director Marilyn Kasmiersky said at the meeting.


Ducharme said the county will use Community Development Block Grant program funds to purchase a building in Conroe, and it will use Emergency Solutions Grant funds to repurpose the building as a shelter. The amount of funding that will be used for redeveloping the building was not discussed at the meeting.

The building, located at 109 Commercial Circle, Conroe, is 6,000 square feet, and the negotiated price is $495,000, according to Kasmiersky.

The building could initially help six families, she said. The organization has helped 12 families so far this year and hopes to assist a total of 25 annually, she said.

Since the building can not be acquired until October because of the use of CDBG funds, Precinct 1 Commissioner Mike Meador said he would like to look into how another approach, such as leasing, could be employed to expedite the program.

“I think this is really important. ... This is a godsend. I’d love to see some way we can do it before October,” Meador said.

Commissioners voted unanimously to move forward with the plan to acquire the building.

County Judge Mark Keough suggested leasing the building until it can be acquired so that no time will be lost before it can be used.
By Vanessa Holt
A resident of the Houston area since 2011, Vanessa began working in community journalism in her home state of New Jersey in 1996. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2016 as a reporter for the Spring/Klein edition and became editor of that paper in March 2017 and editor of The Woodlands edition in January 2019.


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