The city terminated a more than $1 million contract with Bridge Haven to run a West Baltimore homeless shelter and will take over operations Saturday.
Jerrianne Anthony, director of the Mayor’s Office of Human Services, said city officials have spent the past week hiring staff and acquiring supplies “to ensure that there is no break in essential services to this vulnerable population.”
The Pinderhughes Emergency Homeless Shelter houses 78 people, including families, according to the city’s spending board agenda. It’s at the former William Pinderhughes Elementary/Middle School, which was converted into a shelter in 2018.
The Baltimore Board of Estimates agreed unanimously Wednesday to terminate the contract after “multiple on-site visits” determined Bridge Haven was in "violation of multiple compliance requirements in addition to violations related to client discrimination and right to shelter,” according to the agenda.
Bridge Haven did not respond Friday to a voicemail message and a message sent through its website requesting comment.
The city did not provide more information about the violations. City spokesman James Bentley said Anthony was not available for further comment. Anthony has been working with other city officials on protecting the homeless in Baltimore from the new coronavirus.
According to the spending board agenda, “The provider has not resolved the compliance issues or violations.”
Carisa A. Hatfield, a housing attorney the Homeless Persons Representation Project, said the action followed the organization’s clients bringing problems to light. She applauded the mayor’s office for “swift actions in responding to the concerns.”
One of those clients is a 46-year-old woman who lives at the shelter, who asked that her name not be used out of concern for her privacy. The woman said the shelter didn’t have enough food and smells from improper cleaning and other problems, such as urine and feces on the floors.
“They don’t feed us enough,” she said. “They would run out of food the majority of time.”
In December, the woman joined other clients of the project in bringing their concerns before the city’s Continuum of Care, which is a board made up of service providers, government agencies and advocates that looks for ways to make homelessness “rare and brief.” It was that meeting that put in action a series of events that led to the contract termination, advocates said.
The woman said in recent days, the clients have been getting three meals a day.
Bridge Haven’s contract was approved in three parts, beginning on Oct. 30. The agreements were to run through June 30.
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Baltimore Sun reporter Talia Richman contributed to this article.