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Homeless encampment and advocates march to City Hall asking for more resources

Posted at 3:18 PM, Jan 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-02 12:26:40-05

BALTIMORE — Nine hours into the new year and there was a renewed call for more action to combat homelessness in Baltimore.

Advocates, supporters and those living under the I-83 bridge marched to City Hall Friday demanding more resources to help get people off the streets.

"I need help now," said Edward Kingwood. "I need housing and I need medical."

Those in attendance at Friday's press conference said they want the ability to thrive in 2021.

"It’s been a lot of false promises, a lot of hopes and dreams, a lot of pipe dreams," said Michael Webster. "Quite frankly, I’m tired."

Friday's march comes after the recent deaths of two homeless people in Baltimore, including Webster's wife, Lisa Holmes.

"There's been no closure," he said. "But I still got to move on. I've got to be out here to do what I got to do."

Webster also shared he's been living on Baltimore's streets for seven years.

Homeless advocate Christina Flowers said 42 people are living under the I-83 bypass bridge encampment.

“This list is growing,” said Flowers.

Flowers added all the names of those living in the encampment have been given to the representatives for the Mayor for the city to help.

WMAR-2 News reached out to Mayor Brandon Scott’s office for a response to the call for more resources. We are have not yet heard back but early in December Mayor Scott said in a statement:

“As Mayor of Baltimore, I am committed to leveraging government resources and the collective capacity of our many committed partners to make homelessness in our city rare and brief,” Scott said. “The Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services and our community partners will continue to provide daily outreach to those living on our streets, with the goal of providing our neighbors with more stable housing options and the necessary support to ensure their health and overall well-being.

Scott's office also said:

"Overall, in response to the unprecedented pandemic, the City moved swiftly to provide an emergency shelter infrastructure that preserves the dignity, safety and public health of people being served. Since April 2020, MOHS has secured 5 hotels with a total of 525 beds to house people experiencing homelessness.

Simultaneously, the City is continuing the critical work of rapidly rehouse people experiencing homelessness. Since the start of the pandemic, MOHS has moved 254 individuals and families from temporary shelter to more permanent housing. We are expecting to move an additional 150 individuals and families to more permanent housing in the coming months.

Since taking office a little over three weeks ago, Mayor Scott has been in active communication with homeless service providers and other stakeholders in search of greater partnership around an anti-homelessness strategy, one that acknowledges we have a shared responsibility to work together to address homelessness. The Mayor will be convening stakeholders in the coming weeks to work collectively to identify next steps toward our shared goal of ending homelessness in Baltimore.“