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News Opinion Readers Respond

Given Baltimore's generosity, why is homelessness still 'epidemic' here?

As a resident of downtown Baltimore, I'm struck by the amenities offered to the homeless ("Aid for street people failing," March 18). There are long lines in front of Health Care for the Homeless on the Fallsway, and it appears My Sister's Place across the street from the Pratt Library's main branch is doing a thriving business.

The list goes on and on, so my question is: With so many venues offering assistance, why is homelessness still "epidemic" in Baltimore?

Your article failed to investigate the origins of Baltimore's homeless problem. Are the people living on our streets actual city residents, or have they been drawn here because of our amenities?

Your graph indicates the city's homeless population grew 91 percent between 2007 and 2011, yet there's no mention at all of where they came from. This is important.

If each chronically homeless person costs taxpayers roughly $40,000 a year, as your article states, we need to know whether our sizable contribution is a magnet to individuals from all over the country. And how does Baltimore's taxpayer outlay compare with those of other cities?

I live and own property in downtown Baltimore, and the taxes I pay every year are staggering. It is unfair that so much oversight is lacking. More importantly, I'd like to know why homelessness is still "epidemic" in light of the city's generosity.

R.N. Ellis, Baltimore

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