During an election largely relying on mail-in ballots, those without a permanent residential address could be left with few options. But in Frederick, the Religious Coalition for Emergency Human Needs has a mail program that can help people who are experiencing homelessness.
The mail program used to be run by the Frederick Community Action Agency, until it changed hands to the Religious Coalition last fall. About 40 members of the Linton Shelter use the program to get their mail. Another 30 or so outside the program use it as well, said Nick Brown, executive director of the Religious Coalition.
“That process is still going and has gone largely without a hitch, thanks to our individual shelter director, Kavonte Duckett,” Brown said. “He’s largely facilitated the distribution and the sorting of the mail, so it’s been appreciated.”
Even if an individual does not want to vote by mail, they do need a permanent address to register to vote or get a photo ID from the Motor Vehicle Administration. This is one of the reasons Brown wanted to take over the program when it was suspended by the Community Action Agency.
“The big piece is benefits,” Brown said. “You know, we want to be sure to have a place for folks to lock into those very critical entitlements, disability and otherwise.”
Any individual who is interested in enrolling in the program can either do so online at rcehn.org or by phone at 301-631-2670. The offices are not currently open for walk-ins.
The last day to apply for a mail-in ballot is next Tuesday, Oct. 20. The registration deadline for in-person voting ended on Oct. 13.
Brown said that while the Religious Coalition cannot politicize issues or tell their clients how to vote, he and his staff members do hold voting in high regard.
“Especially in this coming election, it’s very important for the people that we serve to make sure they have a voice, so 100 percent, we encourage that,” Brown said.