Feb 1, 2013–
On Feb 1, 2013, the Mayor’s Office of Human Services hosted a community briefing for the “75 Journeys Home” campaign — part of Baltimore City’s 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness. The initiative was aimed at identifying the 75 most vulnerable people experiencing homelessness in Baltimore and placing them in immediate housing.
At the briefing, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said these 75 were “just a start,” yet our city administration continues to create and support policies that perpetuate homelessness. Halfway through the 10-year plan to end homelessness, with most benchmarks either missed or abandoned, this initiative to serve less than 2% of the city’s homeless population was more for show than for impact.
At the time of the briefing, these first 75 had not even been housed. Less than a year later, thirteen of the targeted 75 families were in housing, and 31 were “in the process,” according to Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services. Additionally, the original 75 housing units were not new housing vouchers created by the city – they were primarily pre-existing units re-prioritized by dedicated service providers for the “most vulnerable.” People already on those waiting lists were made to wait even longer.
75 is not enough
HON was there in silent protest to emphasize that 75 is not enough and everyone is vulnerable.
In 2011, the Baltimore’s point-in-time census counted 4,088 people experiencing homelessness on any given night. Members of HON joined many other local volunteers to participate in the 2013 census, canvassing the city from 4-6am over three days.
During the 2013 Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day, friends and advocates honored 105 people who passed away that year while experiencing homelessness.
Voices of experience
HON members were there to share personal experiences of homelessness and provide a larger perspective. In addition to news, radio, and online media coverage, HON published an op-ed about the briefing and our protest in the Baltimore Sun.
75 Journeys Home handout