Website for Homeless in the Metropolitan Region


For the 15th consecutive year, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments' (COG) Homeless Services Planning and Coordinating Committee has conducted a regional enumeration of the area's homeless and formerly homeless population.

More Information here: https://www.mwcog.org/uploads/pub-documents/v15bWlk20150514094353.pdf

How Friends of Wells/Robertson House Began

In the late 80's, an increasing homeless population was impacting the appearance of Olde Towne, Gaithersburg and discouraging patrons. In response, the Gaithersburg Mayor Edward Bohrer (picture shown on the right) and City Council formed a committee charged to:

  1. review the homeless situation and its impact on the city
  2. report back with recommended actions.
The committee was comprised of a mix of both city residents and business owners who volunteered to serve.

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The committee report indicated that many of the homeless in the city had ties to the city through family and/or employment. Most were found to be suffering from a combination of addiction to alcohol and/or drugs and a variety of mental illnesses. The committee report included a number of recommendations. One of the more significant recommendations was that Mayor Edward Bohrer and City Council initiate a city program and services to help the homeless. This led to the city hiring a homeless advocate and establishing the Wells Robertson House (facility) and program.

The city quickly recognized that with the initiation of this program and helping homeless individuals that the city would be responsible for ensuring funding for the long term continuity of the program and services including an expected rise in the numbers in need of assistance. Once a homeless individual accepted help and entered the program, there could be no gaps in funding or support.

In addition to inclusion in the city annual budget, funding support was available each year from the county, state and Federal level. This was by no means a stable source of revenue for supplementing the city expenses in operating the program. The largest financial support came from HUD, and was annually subject to changes in their priorities, HUD budget allocation for these funds, and increased competition from across the country for the limited HUD funds available.

Additional sources of funding were available through individual or business donations, and grants from various organizations and foundations. Unfortunately funding from organizations and foundations were generally available to a not for profit or service provider, but not to a local government. In addition, individuals and organizations were more likely to make donations to a not for profit organizations that could also provide the donor with an income tax benefit (charitable contribution).

In a variety of ways, the city of Gaithersburg assisted in the establishment of a not for profit 501 c3 organization (FWRH) that could provide broader opportunities for furthering the financial support of this fledgling program and facility. The FWRH was formally established in 1993 with many members of the original city committee serving as Board members as well as the city Director Human Services, Linda Morganstein. The city of Gaithersburg provided FWRH with office space and equipment, meeting space as well as a variety of administrative staff support for approximately 15 years. The city continues to provide meeting space.

There were many drivers that led to the formation of the FWRH. Key were the desire to provide a mechanism for:

  • Creating an endowment or financial reserve that could be held and available in the event that the major non city funding sources should substantially diminish or cease to be available. Of primary concern was the possibility of loss of HUD funding.
  • Applying for funding and grants for such services and facilities to help the homeless/ reduce homelessness that are available to a not for profit but not a municipal government.
  • Attracting individual and business donations that could also benefit the contributor through income tax credits as a charitable contribution.

  • Current Events

    Commemorative Bricks Placed for Marraffa, Alster

    Gaithersburg, Md. (February 1, 2017) Today the Friends of Wells/Robertson House, Inc. hosted a ceremony to commemorate the efforts of Henry Marraffa and Stanley Alster in their support of the City's homeless initiatives. Bricks with each of their names were placed on the Wells/Robertson House "Walk of Life." Council Member Marraffa, who served on the Friends of Wells/Robertson House Board of Trustees, passed away in office in October of 2016. Former Council Member Alster served on the Friends of Wells/Robertson House Board from 2000 to 2015. Present for the ceremony were Henry's wife, Donna, surrounded by friends and family, Stan and his wife Ann Lynn, Mayor Jud Ashman, Council Members Neil Harris, Mike Sesma and Rob Wu, Friends of Wells Board of Trustees President Linda Plummer and other members of the Board, along with members of City staff from a variety of departments. To honor Henry's memory, flowers were presented to Donna Marraffa by a current resident of the program. Wells/Robertson House is a turn-of-the-century Victorian home that for the past 29 years has served as a transitional program for homeless men and women in recovery from chemical addiction. It is owned and operated by the City of Gaithersburg. The brick "Walk of Life" leading to the house serves as a daily affirmation of the community spirit that makes recovery a reality. The program is aided by the fundraising and advocacy efforts of the nonprofit organization, Friends of Wells/Robertson House, Inc., which has a mission to support, independently and collaboratively, a continuum of prevention and intervention programs and services to reduce chronic addiction and homelessness in the Gaithersburg community. For more information on Wells/Robertson House, the Walk of Life and other commemorative programs in the City of Gaithersburg, please visit www.gaithersburgmd.gov. For more information on the Friends of Wells/Robertson House, Inc., please visit www.friendsofwells.org.


    Past Events

    ANNUAL MEETING!!


    the annual meeting is scheduled for Monday, July 11, 2016 City Hall (upper level) site 5:00 pm set up and 6:00 pm program & dinner

    The Annual Meeting speaker was Rev. Tim Warner
    Denim and Dimands 2015

    Click the above image to learn about Rev. Tim Warner

    ~ Annual Recovery Picnic ~


    The picnic is on September 24th and the theme is Our Families, Our Stories, Our Recovery!

    Save The Date - Denim & Diamonds Gala

    Denim and Dimands 2015

    Friday, May 6, 2016
    Gaithersburg holiday Inn
    Grand Ballroom
    2 Montgomery Village Ave., Gaithersburg, MD 20879
    $60 Per Person

    Sponsors

    Denim and Dimands 2015


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    If you would like to make a donation in support of our mission, it would be greatly appreciated. Donations can be made by personal check or by PayPal and through AmazonSmile

    The Friends of Wells/Robertson House, Inc. would like to thank you again for your tremendous generosity and support.

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