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News Opinion Readers Respond

Neighbors right to worry about Beans and Bread expansion

The expansion of Beans and Bread shouldn't just worry "some neighbors," it should worry all neighbors ("Soup kitchen's plans worry some neighbors," Nov. 28). The motives of St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore may be genuine, yet the facts on the ground tell a different story.

When the soup kitchen Our Daily Bread, expanded, it was a horror. Right across from the main library, the clients didn't eat and leave; they crossed the street to harass library patrons. They also abused the public restrooms and created other serious problems. Many who came to Our Daily Bread were drug abusers, shoplifters and aggressive pan handlers. Mercifully, this soup kitchen has been moved elsewhere.

Then there was "Bum Park" next to St. Vincent De Paul's Church on Fayette Street. This homeless encampment, sanctioned by the church, was a neighborhood blight and magnet for lawbreakers. Also, the filthy tent city housed criminals who broke into cars and shoplifted throughout the area. Thanks to community activism, the space has been cleaned up and restricted.

Baltimore City is becoming a sinkhole for the homeless. As we build bigger and better shelters along with adjunct services, homeless people from all over the country are coming here to take advantage of Charm City's largesse. Baltimore businesses and residents are stuck with a disproportionate bill for the nation's problem.

Beans and Bread is part of the growing homeless industry. It's a bureaucracy that cares nothing about the neighborhoods where they locate or the harm their clients cause. Once entrenched every venue then seeks to expand. No consideration is given to communities, like Upper Fells Point, or to the folks who put life savings and "sweat equity" into improving their homes. Is it any wonder Baltimore has a problem attracting new residents? Beans and Bread shouldn't worry "some neighbors," it should worry the entire city, especially residents, like me, who pay a humongous tax for the privilege of living here.

Rosalind Ellis, Baltimore

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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