A field brightly colored tents in front of Baltimore's city hall.
credit: Henrieese Roberts

Raven Lane, a friend and advocate for those of us experiencing housing instability, recently updated me about Tent City, a group of homeless people and their advocates that were camped out in front of Baltimore’s city hall.

On Wednesday, Aug. 23, in the early morning, I was with the group as Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh discussed the projected move of the 55 people who were living in tents.

Pugh later that day released the following statement: “Homelessness is a critical issue facing Baltimore City and I am working together with community advocates including the organizers of ‘Tent City’ to develop immediate and long-term solutions for permanent housing.

“Today, I authorized the use of a surplus school building to serve as a safe haven for homeless individuals who have not had success in the existing emergency shelter system or in previous attempts to secure permanent housing. There are approximately 55 individuals who will reside at the facility while receiving case management and counseling. Our goal is to provide these individuals with the support they need as expediently as possible.”

Christina Flowers attended to help in any role that would assist the residents get housing. Photo by Henrieese Roberts

Rev. Lisa Weddington spoke with Olivia Ealey. Photo by Henrieese Roberts

Glen Smith explained the barriers he has faced while seeking work and economic stability. Photo by Henrieese Roberts

  

While there at the camp, I spoke with Glen Smith, a resident, who spoke of issues that hamper his ability to get housing.

“The family is been broken by Housing Choice Vouchers,” Glen said. “It is illegal for me to be there, however, I watched kids and contributed to the household.”

Glen walked on over to the Soldiers Memorial, all the while expressing that it is so difficult for a young Black man to find work. After rendering spiritual insights, he sighed and said, “I believe I will become a minister!”

While sauntering around with Glen, I met Rev. Lisa Weddington, who was interviewing residents to help them get services. We discussed depression and anxiety, so the residents could understand behavioral health diagnosis.

Olivia Ealey, from the District of Columbia, came to see if she could move in with the Tent City residents and become a resident of Baltimore.

Later I visited the William Pinderhughes Elementary, where the 55 people were being relocated.

Tent City, Baltimore | 08.23.2017