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Readers rescue hard-luck renter


Dozens of Baltimoreans who read of Raymond "Ted" Dixon's dilemma yesterday -- facing eviction because his rent money was stolen in a robbery -- were touched by his story and wanted to help.

More than 60 readers called The Baltimore Sun offering to contribute toward the $387 Mr. Dixon had to come up with today in order to avoid eviction.

"I want to send these guys thank-you cards," Mr. Dixon said. "I just want to thank all these people helping me the way they are, backing me up. It's meaning a whole lot."

Shortly after he cashed his $422 Social Security check earlier this month, Mr. Dixon was attacked and robbed as he headed home in his wheelchair. Without the money, he was unable to pay the April rent on his Southwest Baltimore apartment.

His landlord took him to court and won a judgment against him. Mr. Dixon had until this morning to come up with the $325 in rent, plus a $25 late fee and $37 in court costs.

One caller yesterday, Jacqueline Williams of Guilford, said that Mr. Dixon's story "tugged at my heart something awful."

"I'm unemployed and I'm getting unemployment insurance," she said. "But I thought I had to send him something. I felt so bad for this poor man."

A Baltimore radio station, WQSR, called Mr. Dixon yesterday morning and put him on the air as a "Name That Tune" contestant. "We played two notes of the national anthem and he named it, and we gave him 400 bucks," said disc jockey Steve Rouse.

Mr. Dixon said he would accept enough for two months' rent and thank everyone for their offers of help, but would decline further contributions.

City housing officials have arranged for him to receive a state rent subsidy to avoid a repeat occurance.

Mr. Dixon said he had spent all of Wednesday searching his neighborhood for storage boxes, now unnecessary.

"Boy, it looks like I can start putting my pictures back on the wall again," he said. "That will take some time, but I've got all the time in the world."

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