NewsLocal News


'There's no such thing as a homeless tenant': Life after being homeless

Sojourner Place at Oliver
Posted at 6:07 PM, Oct 31, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-01 13:40:57-04

BALTIMORE — Some 35 formally homeless residents are living comfortably in the apartment building Sojourner Place at Oliver. It's a housing development that opened about a year ago where half of the units put people that were homeless into permanent housing.

"Being here has definitely made me feel accepted. I don't feel alone,” said Kaelah Jordan, a resident at Sojouner Place at Oliver.

"I cry tears of joy because even from the people that work here and even some of the neighbors, it just brings a feel of home,” said Vanity Harris, who also lives at Sojouner Place at Oliver.

For Harris and Jordan, enjoying the comfort of their homes hasn't always been an option. About a year ago they were both homeless.

"I’ve actually spent a majority of my life homeless. Sleeping couch to couch in and out of homes and things like that,” said Jordan.

That was until Sojourner Place at Oliver opened up. Fully furnished units for people leaving homelessness and moving into a stable residence.

"People often ask us well how is it to house homeless people and our response is there's no such thing as a homeless tenant," said Kevin Lindamood, the CEO of Healthcare for the Homeless.

It's a partnership between the Episcopal Housing Corporation and Health Care for the Homeless. A multi-family building with 70 apartments, where 35 are leased to people who left homelessness.

The other 35 are leased to people with incomes below 50 percent of the area median income.

"There's an exercise room, and a library, and group meeting rooms and a game room, and so this is really a community that we're trying to sustain,” said Lindamood.

Housing vouchers from Baltimore City are used to help pay for the units.

But it's not just roofs over their head. A portion of the revenue helps to cover case management, therapists, and other support along the way.

"It gave me my own sanctuary to help elevate and grow to where I am today," said Harris.

For Jordan, it's also about breaking the cycle for her children. "I home school my children, so now we're able to dive in especially with the library being here all the amenities being here."

Almost a year off the streets and some tenets say it has completely changed their lives.

"If it wasn't for this place here that I call home, I don't know where I’d be now,” said Harris. “I still would be in my trauma trying to figure out how I’m going to make it through. This place here is wonderful.”

The Sojourner Place at Oliver project was primarily funded through the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program with Bank of America as the investor.