Home Builders Care Assessment Center
Emergency Shelter for Homeless Men
On August 22, 2013, the ribbon was cut on a new picnic pavilion and grilling patio at the Home Builders Care Assessment Center (HBCAC).
The new outdoor space was dedicated to Mr. Chip Merlin, a past president of the Home Builders Care Foundation (HBCF). Mr. Merlin, a former executive with K Hovnanian Homes, had served as Builder Captain during the original construction of the shelter in 2000. Mr. Merlin passed away in July of 2011.
Original Building Constructed by HBCF in 2000
At that time the Rockville Men's Emergency Shelter offered homeless men only the most rudimentary form of shelter consisting of three trailers. In the previous winter these trailers were used by 500 homeless men, and each night close to 100 men sought shelter from the inclement weather. The trailers provided protection from the elements but that was about all. Conditions were cramped and uncomfortable and facilities totally inadequate. The men slept on cold, bare floors with one blanket to lie on and one for cover. Only two toilets and showers were available in a separate trailer, and there was no way to provide food and meals. These deficiencies were particularly acute because many of the homeless men who seek shelter suffer from mental illness and alcohol or drug dependency. They are without resources and dependent upon whatever help the County gives them. The goal was to alleviate this situation with a new Shelter.
On November 1, 2000, County officials were joined by the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless, the Home Builders Care Foundation and Builder Captain Chip Merlin of K. Hovnanian Homes, in cutting the ribbon for the newly completed Men’s Emergency Shelter. The 5800-square foot shelter was large and airy with high ceilings and large windows providing lots of light. It housed up to 100 men at a time and helped to get them back on their feet and become more self-sufficient. This special public/private partnership between the County and the Home Builders Care Foundation cost more than $1 million. But with the support of close to 100 members of the local home building industry, HBCF involvement was able to cut cash expenses roughly in half.
Since its grand opening, the building has affectionately been called "The Big House" by the community and is a key resource for the homeless in the County.
2008 Addition to the Shelter (3,780 sq. ft. added)
Unfortunately, since the building's original construction, demand for shelter and comprehensive services for homeless individuals has increased dramatically. A few years after construction, additional sleeping space for men was needed and an on-site trailer was used for overflow. Plans for an addition began to take shape in 2006 and once again HBCF stepped up to assist. Winchester Homes signed on to serve as Builder Captain of the project.
Today, the near 10,000 sq. ft. facility, now named the Home Builders Care Assessment Center provides 24/7 shelter and services to homeless men. The addition build expanded both the size of the facility and the scope of services provided. A total of 35 permanent additional bed units were added.
On the afternoon of Thursday, June 18 2009, the official grand opening of the new shelter took place. Click to view 2009 project fact sheet.
Today, the facility serves approximately 750 men over the course of a year. Residents not only have access to basic amenities such as showers, beds, laundry and dining facilities, but they also have on-site access to a variety of supportive services to help residents exit homelessness more quickly, including: thorough assessments, case management, vocational counseling and job training, health education classes, in-house 12-step meetings, and medical services.
In 2019 and 2020, the men and staff of the Home Builders Care Assessment Center MOVED to a temporary location due to safety concerns originating from vibrations coming from a neighboring landfill facility. Read more here: https://bethesdamagazine.com/bethesda-beat/government/with-no-answers-to-safety-concerns-homeless-shelter-will-move/
CONTACT MCCH for the LATEST NEWS (301) 217-0314
Click to learn more about programs at the Home Builders Care Assessment Center.