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Mayor Scott exploring City purchase of hotels to provide housing for the homeless

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Posted at 1:19 PM, Apr 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-21 13:19:41-04

BALTIMORE — Baltimore City, under the leadership of Mayor Brandon Scott, is exploring purchasing hotels to provide non-congregate housing for people experiencing homelessness.

In a Request for Information (RFI) posted on Wednesday, the City is engaging the community to potentially purchase property that can be converted to permanent and transient housing in accordance with the strategic mission and plan of the Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services (MOHS).

“Providing high-quality and safe facilities for people and families experiencing homelessness is my top priority, and we are grateful to President Biden for making federal dollars available to that end,” said Mayor Scott. “I remain committed to implementing an anti-homelessness strategy that addresses the acute needs that exist now, while simultaneously fostering long-term solutions in partnership with service providers and other stakeholders.”

The goal is to have multiple hotels under the ownership and management of the City that are capable of providing safe, high-quality shelter to people and families experiencing homelessness.

MOHS is seeking to create more permanent, non-congregate housing opportunities that can serve between 100-130 clients at a single location.

At the start of the pandemic in late March 2020, Baltimore City moved several congregate shelter projects into hotels in order to provide sheltering in compliance with CDC guidelines and allow for the safe quarantine of people testing positive for COVID-19.

Currently, the City of Baltimore holds lease agreements with two motels and four hotels, which collectively provide shelter and support services to more than 600 people — most of whom are older adults and/or have underlying health conditions that make them particularly COVID vulnerable.

As the current leasing model is not a sustainable long-term solution, the City is seeking possible alternative options as part of this RFI.

The RFI seeks information on properties currently operating as hotels with 100-200 bedrooms, on-site laundry facilities, accessible entrances and elevator (if multiple floors), and kitchen facilities.

The ideal properties would be up-to-code and require minimal renovations to meet the functional needs of MOHS operations.

From this RFI, the City will create a short-listing of suitable and cost-efficient suppliers, and determine next steps toward the acquisition of the property in accordance with Baltimore City’s procurement regulations and policies.

The RFI is publicly available at this link.