Travelers Aid Society to cease work in Baltimore due to lack of funding


After 85 years, the Travelers Aid Society will cease to have a presence in Baltimore after June 30.

In recent years, the nonprofit group has been known as PATH, for People Aiding Travelers and the Homeless.

Sixty percent of PATH's funding dried up in cutbacks the past three years, said John K. Bacci, chairman of the board.

The Travelers Aid part will live on with volunteers at Baltimore-Washington International Airport in a merger with Travelers Aid International. But PATH's major effort of helping the homeless and AIDS-sufferers will be transferred to other agencies, and PATH will end.

"I've felt like I've been in a meteor shower the last few years, funding sources falling so much," said Bacci. "It's not a good environment for a homeless service agency. The answer is merging. We tried to merge with another agency, but just couldn't pull it off.

"It's utterly impossible to operate in this financial environment," said Bacci, president of a Linthicum financial investment firm. He praised sources such as the Abell Foundation for their assistance.

Bacci said the agency was a $1 million agency in 1993-1994, but this year the budget fell to about $475,000.

He said PATH is working to transfer clients to other agencies and trying to find jobs for its six full-time workers.

PATH will try to wind up all its obligations within three months, but has informed the United Way and other funding agencies it is accepting no more funds -- and after June 30, no more clients.

Larry Krolak, acting executive director, said PATH assumed its new name in the mid-1980s and has been helping people in addition to travelers for almost two decades. It helped 1,100 homeless people last year and regularly helps 150 AIDS-sufferers.

Marlene C. McLaurin, United Way vice president of community building and investment, praised the commitment of Bacci and the staff during times of shrinking funds.

"It's unfortunate that an organization like PATH with a long history of service has concluded its operations," McLaurin said. "But there are strong groups that can pick up where PATH may leave off and provide more comprehensive services."

Pub Date: 6/10/98

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