Three Oaks Center offers programs that provide the homeless in St. Mary’s County with housing, stabilization, assessment, and referral to appropriate resources so that they may return to living productive, self-sufficient lives in our community.
Three Oaks Center will help the homeless to help themselves by assisting them with housing, training, and additional services in partnership with other community agencies.
The concept and need for Three Oaks Center was first discussed in 1991 by a handful of community leaders who saw the increasing incidence of homelessness among men as a major concern in St. Mary’s County. In 1992, the group incorporated as a nonprofit, the first of a series of steps aimed at addressing the problem by concentrating energies and resources on the establishment and implementation of a transitional and emergency shelter for homeless men. Their vision matured in January of 1996 when the doors of the new facility on Lei Drive in Lexington Park were opened and the first individuals were served.
In two years, it became clear through continuous local assessment that there was a need to expand supportive services and extend those new services to women and families. At this time, Three Oaks had only been providing these services to men. The Center also recognized that many of the most vulnerable in the homeless population were suffering from severe mental illness. The Center decided to make a special commitment to these people. In May of 1999, the Center submitted a grant application to the United States Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the purpose of providing permanent housing to the mentally ill. Having been chosen to receive these funds, the Center began providing those services in October 2000. Since then the Center has been awarded five additional HUD Permanent Supportive Housing grants and are currently providing those additional services.
In 2003 the Center purchased 10 substandard townhouses in Lexington Park for $650,000 and then spent another $100,000 rehabilitating them. This project now provides an additional 10 units of supportive transitional housing for families, and also achieves the desired effect of significantly improving the neighborhood.
The Center continues to participate in numerous community and agency meetings in an attempt to explore new ways in which to assist the St. Mary’s County community in providing much needed additional and improved services to homeless individuals and families. Three Oaks Center shares information and communicates regularly with other Supportive Housing providers in St Mary’s County with the idea that by working together, these organizations can maximize the amount of services provided while minimizing any unneeded duplication