BALTIMORE — An agency under the Baltimore City Mayor's office will gain its freedom to tackle one of the city's top concerns.
On Thursday, Mayor Jack Young announced his plan to make the Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services an independent agency. Taking effect on July 1, the mayor said, the office have free will to collaborate with other city, state, and federal entities to engage partners, including service providers, individuals with lived experience, and the corporate community to implement collaborative strategies that address homelessness.
The current role of the Office of Homeless Services is to work to prevent and end homelessness in Baltimore .
"This decision reflects the city’s heightened and urgent commitment to solving homelessness," Mayor Young said. "We listened closely to the recommendation of community leaders that this issue is best solved with clear leadership, dedicated capacity, and cross-sector partnerships. This decision will help produce the best results for the citizens of Baltimore."
In a race against the clock, the mayor wants the plan to include strategies to increase the availability of housing, improve shelter services, integrate employment solutions, and launch a race equity agenda. The agency will remain committed to effectively operating with the resources to reduce the homeless rate.
Also, Mayor Young announced leaders to follow through on the departing agency's plan. Jerrianne Anthony, a former deputy administrator for homeless families in Washington, D.C., will lead the Mayor's Office of Homeless Services. Anthony will work with the HUD Baltimore Field Office, the Baltimore City Continuum of Care, and the Mayor’s Executive Leadership Team to ensure the office is up and running by July 1, the start of the city’s new fiscal year.
"We are extremely excited to be leading up a department charged with implementing the community’s vision to transform the city’s homeless services system by working differently on behalf of the vulnerable residents we serve," Anthony said. "We all play a vital role in addressing homelessness in our community. We look forward to working across partners to ensure that services are accessible and efforts are strategically aligned to ensure the maximum return of our investment in improving the lives of Baltimore City residents."