City says it’s prepared to shelter the homeless as winter approaches — Baltimore Brew
Homelessness doesn’t hit softly; it’s more like a hurricane that sweeps through a city, according to Jeff Singer, former director of Baltimore’s Health Care for the Homeless.
University of Baltimore MFA student Lavonia Reid knows what it’s like to hop from shelter to shelter—and finally, she knows what it’s like to come home.
We weren’t always a family of four. We used to be a five-some: my mother, my father, my two younger brothers, and me. But that was before, before my father turned from a loving husband into a jailer—before he brought my mother down, not only with his fist but with his words. By the time we got out, the damage had been done.
Baltimore has 16,000 vacant homes; on any given night, there are an average of 3,000 homeless people within the city limits. Putting those two facts next to each other begs an obvious question.
It’s been a cold winter, in case you haven’t noticed. While everyone is inconvenienced by icy roads and frigid temperatures, a cold snap is worse — much worse — if you’re homeless. And it doesn’t help that Baltimore may have the nation’s strictest policies for when additional shelter beds can be opened during inclement weather.
After thinking over their anti-panhandling bill, which or might or might not have effectively banned begging in all of downtown Baltimore, the city council is considering an amendment which would scale back the extent of the ban.
Under the amendment, the provision prohibiting panhandling within 10 feet of any store or restaurant would be rewritten to apply only to outdoor dining areas. The ban would still apply to areas around parking meters as well as pedestrian bridges and stairwells.