Cleaning up Baltimore and leaving the homeless behind is just wrong
There is an encampment of homeless people across from Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) located at 421 Fallsway in Baltimore. It’s been a tough week for Camp 421 residents due to the Department of Public Works (DPW) having to get ready for the Farmers Market.
I met some of the Camp 421 residents. Precious, 29, and Kerri, 27, a homeless couple were moving their belongings from camp to the porch of HCH.
Marcy, another homeless person loaded up a shopping cart full of her things and joined them.
The DPW had given a notice stating the cleaning would occur Wednesdayfrom 5 to 7 p.m. and again on Fridays at the same time and as needed on weekends. DPW was very cooperative and one worker stated that he hated doing this because the homeless had next to nothing. This is great but it doesn’t negate the fact that these homeless people are going to have to do this at least twice a week or more for almost the entire summer.
I was very distraught watching DPW workers doing their job. Even though, I am housed and have never slept there when I was homelessness, it was distressing. The sight angered me. I and others who were there; residents, advocates had to walk off for a few minutes and regroup.
Housing Our Neighbors was there to help facilitate the cleanup and assist residents in any way they could. Homeless advocates from HCH alsowere on the scene trying to make it go as smoothly as possible. Camp 421 residents joined with the advocates and DPW in the cleanup.
So far, these homeless people are not being evicted just greatly inconvenienced. Have you ever tried to carry everything you own all day long? Imagine having to move it all by hand six times a week.
Can you see the issues I’m raising?
This is another battle in the war on poverty.
Poverty cannot be swept away. It takes living wages and affordable housing to even scratch the surface of building up from nothing. More importantly it takes HOPE by the people experiencing it and the political will to make things different. I see the HOPE in some, but I think the political will is another story.
We are one of the wealthiest states in the country yet we can’t afford to house the most vulnerable among us. It’s time for Baltimore residents together and come up with a real plan for our homeless citizens.
The Journey Home isn’t taking them anywhere. The homeless of Baltimore do not need a five or 10 year road map to a housing pipe dream. They need solutions and real affordable housing programs.
Remember this number; 105. That’s the number of homeless people who died here last year. Baltimore can and needs to do better.
Bonnie Lane is an avid activist and advocate here in Baltimore. She is very vocal about social injustices. Fighting against injustice isn’t just a slogan to her but a way of life. Lane is a soldier in the struggles for social justice, real change and human rights. Having been homeless is what inspired her to become an advocate/activist. A passion for writing consumed her at an early age.