Petition to Mayor Young and Tisha Edwards: #EmptyTheShelters Now and Housing For All!
Dear Mayor Bernard Young and Tisha Edwards,
We the undersigned are residents in Baltimore City Funded shelters and their allies. We have been advocating for the #EmptytheShelters campaign since March 2020. We desire to work with you to combine your expertise and knowledge of funding and resources, with our grassroots experience, civic leaders, and expertise to realize the goal to #EmptytheShelters. This is a reality within our grasp.
As the coronavirus continues to spread in the state of Maryland, including Baltimore City, we continue to fear for basic health, safety, and mortality concerns. All City-run congregant shelters have been moved temporarily to hotels, except one -- Greenspring Shelter. We, the residents at Greenspring shelter, face inhumane and deplorable conditions including no running hot water, moldy bathrooms, substandard food, inadequate COVID-19 testing, and minimal hygiene supplies to help with CDC-recommended best practices. Congregate homeless shelters come with a plethora of inherent, chronic concerns underscoring the necessity of our efforts. Additionally, COVID-19 highlights the catastrophic healthcare crisis that is exacerbated in these shelters. Innovating strategies to swiftly place the homeless in permanent homes is not just the right thing to do, it is imperative for health, life, and safety must be developed and implemented now. We must act swiftly and boldly.
Due to this novel Coronavirus and its impact, we face not just new challenges and a new normal, but also many blossoming opportunities. Let's be trailblazers in providing permanent housing options and revolutionize the provision of services for the homeless and at-risk of homelessness populations. We can not return to congregate shelters we know to be hotbeds of poor health and higher morbidity; we need healthy, permanent housing.
We feel it is the City’s duty to protect our basic human rights to health, safety, and housing. Therefore, we are sending this petition with a demand for a meeting with you by August 10, 2020:
WE DEMAND: That all shelter residents, and residents temporarily moved to hotels be moved directly into permanent housing, so that nobody is returned to risky congregant living environments.
WE DEMAND: That the immediate health and safety conditions in Baltimore’s Green spring shelter be remediated. These issues include, but are not exclusive of: no hot water, unsanitary conditions, substandard food, and lack of transparency around decision making.
WE DEMAND: An allocation of at least $175 million from Maryland’s $1.3 billion federal Coronavirus Relief Fund towards rental assistance and eviction prevention.