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'The policy needs to change': Baltimore homeless shelter intake time questioned after night worker turned away

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Posted at 10:46 PM, Apr 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-14 16:04:45-04

BALTIMORE — Dishwasher William Morton is working to turn his life around. He has a job, but no place to live.

A local shelter is where he would sleep until recently.

"Basically, if you work like I do," said Morton, "and I work from 4 pm to sometimes 12 pm. I basically have to sleep on the street."

Homeless gets turned away from shelter because of working night shift

The policy at Baltimore Rescue Mission states the door close at 7:45 pm, meaning people must be checked in before that time, otherwise they have to look elsewhere. That usually means sleeping on the streets.

"There's no way I can make it," said Morton. "I think the policy needs to change."

'Policy needs to change': Homeless man with late work shift gets turned away from shelter

Homeless advocates believe policies like these can hurt the homeless population, specifically those who work night jobs.

"You have people who are trying to improve their life and then there's the system with these rules that work against them," said homeless advocate Christina Flowers. "It sends the message that the system is against them."

Morton's boss, Michael Tribizi, agrees.

"I provided the shelter with a letter on my company's letterhead. I even provided pay stubs as proof," he said.

When Morton showed the paperwork he said the shelter just said the rule is the rule.

WMAR 2 News reached out to Baltimore Rescue Mission regarding the policy. A supervisor would only say that is our policy, adding no exceptions are made.

"We're also dealing with a first-come-first-serve basis," said the supervisor.

For now, Morton is just glad for the warm weather.

"I would like a place to lay my head so I can perform at my job," said Morton. "For now maybe, I'll just look at the skyline or boats in the harbor. I have my comforter."

WMAR 2 News reached out to the Mayor's Office of Homeless Services regarding shelter intake times.

A spokesperson said the city provides funding for shelters with flexible intake times. However, Baltimore Rescue Mission is not one of them.

Reps for the Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services suggested Mr. Morton contact the resource hotline for an accommodating shelter.