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Booth House family shelter to close

Salvation Army points to federal cuts
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Posted at 6:54 PM, Jun 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-19 18:54:09-04

From the outside, the Booth House on North Calvert Street may have looked like any other historic house, but it has represented far more than that to the 15 families who call it home.

"I've been here for 10 years so we just saw a lot of mothers and a lot of children and never knew it was a homeless shelter," said Denise Nord who lives just across the street.
    
A shelter, which plans to close by the end of the month after federal cutbacks a few years ago that left it with a $700,000 deficit each year.
    
Reached by telephone as he travels out of state, Major Gene Hogg confirmed the plans to close the Booth House, but he says the Salvation Army has assisted each of those families in finding new homes.
    
Some of them will re-locate to Sarah's Hope, the largest family shelter in the city, run by St. Vincent de Paul.

"We took in three of the families last week,” said St. Vincent de Paul’s president, John Schiavone, “We're going to be taking in three more this week and next week.  We're doing what we can to absorb the families that are displaced by the Booth House closing, but the bigger loss here is the loss of the capacity in the overall shelter bed system for families."
    
Sarah's Hope almost doubled its bed space a few years ago, but it still can only house about 50 families at a time. 

"We are getting calls every single day for help and there are times, obviously, that we are turning families away," said Schiavone.
    
It's not expected to get any easier now that one of only three shelters available to homeless families in Baltimore will close after 80 years of serving those who need it the most.

"It's hard to see them on the corner,” said Nord, “I don't know if they're waiting to get in or something because I see a lot of them on the corner, but they seem to do very well."

The Salvation Army told us the city also contributed to the Booth House closure by restricting it from requiring job training and other measures to help make families self-sufficient. 
    
In the future, it hopes to provide more permanent housing.