The Baltimore City Department of Social Services has moved its headquarters from the 1500 block of Guilford Ave. to new offices at the Eastside State Complex at 1400 E. North Ave., where the Eastside District Court is also located.
The new offices - which cost about $9 million to build and were paid for by a private real estate development firm - will house 85 percent of the staff that used to work at the Guilford Avenue offices, said DSS Director Samuel Chambers Jr.
At a ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday, Chambers said that DSS had entered into a long-term lease with the firm that built the office, J4P Associates of New York. DSS staff members moved into the building Monday, Chambers said. J4P Associates also redeveloped the courts building, which used to be a Sears store.
Chambers said DSS will continue to use the Guilford Avenue offices. But he said most of the agency's staff members will be housed at the new location, a modern but simple structure made of multicolored cinderblocks. Many staff members and city elected officials attended the ribbon-cutting.
The new building will be named in honor of Del. Talmadge Branch, a Baltimore Democrat, who is co-chairman of the Joint Committee on Welfare Reform and who has also served on health and human resources subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. He has been an outspoken advocate for poor children and those in the state's foster care system.
A garden pathway outside the building will be named in honor of Jerry Lymas, a past special assistant to Rep. Parren J. Mitchell and president of Justin Development Group of Baltimore. Lymas died Feb. 1, 2006, after a brief illness.