As you may have noticed we here at St. Ambrose Housing Aid have been on a bit of a hiatus from the blogging world. In the spirit of the New Year we have settled on a resolution for 2012: start blogging again. We hope that you will continue to turn to “Talk to St. Ambrose” for timely information as it relates to housing and neighborhood preservation in Baltimore. Rather than wait to get started on our New Year’s resolution let’s jump right in to another post.
Last week on December 21st, the longest night of the year, people in over 150 cities across the country gathered to observe National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day. The event remembers those who have died without a secure place to live and to recommit to the urgent task of ending the conditions that create homelessness. Stop Homelessness and Reduce Poverty (S.H.A.R.P.), a coalition of service providers and advocates in Baltimore City working to end the injustice of poverty and homelessness, organized the memorial service in Baltimore. During the Memorial Service the names of all 111 people who died homeless in Baltimore this year were read aloud in remembrance. The Baltimore Brew provides video coverage of the event here and the Baltimore Sun features reflections from Memorial attendees here.
The homeless population in the City is trending upward. Since 2005 the homeless population has jumped from 2,943 to 4,088 in 2011 according to the Baltimore City Homelessness Point in Time Census Report. People who are homeless face many challenges including, but not limited to low incomes and barriers to securing employment or disability assistance, affordable housing, and healthcare to manage both acute and chronic conditions.
It is necessary to assist in securing housing as well as supportive services as individuals and families transition out of homelessness. Baltimore’s ten-year plan to end homelessness, The Journey Home, launched in 2008 aims to take on the complexities of getting people off the streets and into permanent housing by addressing the root causes: affordable housing, comprehensive health care, sufficient incomes, and preventive and emergency services. The annual outcome reports issued by Baltimore City demonstrate progress in delivering services to the homeless even as financial resources were scaled back in light of tough economic times.
It will be an uphill battle to reach the program’s goal to end homelessness by 2018, but with the help of businesses, not-for-profits, faith-based organizations and community members we can certainly make a difference. What you will you do this year to help address homelessness?