On an average night in Baltimore, there are over 4,000 people experiencing homelessness. Every year, city officials scramble to set a winter shelter plan, creating confusion and panic amongst many in our community. This year, the plan - including overflow shelter beds - was initially set to go into effect when temperatures reached 0 degrees.
The City has since stepped back on this, and set the threshold at 32 degrees. We ask that they set a permenant, long term plan to address the annual change in seasons - one that respects our human rights, dignity and security.
Housing Our Neighbors recognizes that homelessness is entirely preventable and, as such, can be ended. This will only happen if we establish and implement an affordable housing plan for our city that includes all people. In addition, we call on City leaders to commit $20 million in public bonds annually invested in community land trust (CLT) housing, deposited in a community-controlled, housing trust fund, and commit $20 million in public bonds annually to deconstruct vacants, create green space, opportunities for urban agriculture. Read more on the 20/20 Vision for permanently affordable housing: http://tinyurl.com/zh8ykch
Dear Mayor and City Council Members,
A lack of affordable housing is the fundamental cause of homelessness.
Therefore, I urge you to develop a comprehensive affordable housing plan.
In addition, the new cold weather shelter policy, which opens additional emergency shelter space with the temperature drops below freezing, needs to be made a permanent City policy - not just a plan for the current winter season.
Finally, Baltimore must stop evictions and utility shut-offs during the winter months in order to reduce harm and prevent further homelessness.
Housing Our Neighbors