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Hope flows into Poe homes as water outage continues

Five days without water for Poe Homes
Posted at 11:24 PM, Jun 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-24 16:30:58-04

BALTIMORE — As people got ready for bed Friday night they couldn’t wash their faces or brush their teeth in their own homes.

A complicated water main break has made that the story in the Poe Homes for five days.

Marlon Jackson has been living in that community for his whole life.

It hurts him that his kids are seeing what life is like without water, and that it took so long for a response.

“They say it’s bad enough with the air conditioners; when it gets hot, they say it’s still hot in the house,” Jackson said. “Now you out of water.”

After outrage on social media, Baltimore Mayor Jack Young called the situation “completely unacceptable”.

The people of Poe Homes feel their voices aren't being heard.

The city has constructed a temporary solution to a complicated water main break, using a fire hydrant flowing a low stream for an entire community.

“If it was somewhere in a better community they would have fixed the water shortage more than if we’re in a low poverty community that we live in,” Jackson said. “They would have been out quicker to help them. It’s hard man.”

Organization of Hope saw what was happening and rolled out literal hope on wheels in the form of their bus full of washing machines and a trailer with showers and toilets.

“We’re in the community; we’re here; we’re making people feel a little bit better that someone is listening to them,” Organization of Hope Coordinator Linda Childress said.

Generators and hoses are powering washers and driers, bathrooms and showers, all essentials that are expected with modern day living that these people have been desperate for.

“If you don’t have water for five days there’s, some dirty clothes somewhere and it’s been hot,” said Childress said. “We want to provide that, and we wanted to come out to the community to find out what else is going on. What else do you need?”

Around the corner the University of Maryland opened their locker room doors, offering hot showers and towels residents don't have to worry about washing.

“For some people, when they go into the shower, it’s the only moment they have to be by themselves,” Kelly Quinn a spokesperson said. “To have that taken away in the middle of all this other chaotic business."

It's gone from the break, to inaction, to hope.

The people of Poe Homes may have felt forgotten, but their community is showing they matter.

Mayor Young said a water bypass system will be operational for at least a week while DPW works.

The city is coordinating portable toilets at Lexington and Saratoga Streets.

The housing authority is on site with pallets of bottled water, and they have established a 24-hour emergency number for residents (410) 669-2290.

The University of Maryland’s doors will be open for showers Saturday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at 621 W. Lombard Street.

Organization of Hope said they will bring their resources back Saturday afternoon as well.