City to get $31 million for homeless services

The Baltimore Sun

Using the site of a proposed homeless shelter as a backdrop, Mayor Sheila Dixon announced yesterday that Baltimore will get $31 million in federal funds for homeless services, including $9.5 million in emergency funds under the economic stimulus package.

Separately, the Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Foundation said it has pledged $1.8 million of the estimated $8.2 million cost of the proposed shelter, which would be called the Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Housing and Resource Center.

The facility, to be on the site of a city building at 620 Fallsway, would be a "modern, clean and welcoming addition to this community," Dixon said during an afternoon news conference. The center would have 275 beds and would offer health care, access to job services, housing referrals and a 25-bed convalescent care floor.

Dixon urged the City Council to approve the shelter.

While it has the backing of the Mount Vernon-Belvedere Association, Councilman Bernard C. "Jack" Young, who represents part of the Mount Vernon and East Baltimore communities, has opposed it. Yesterday's event was attended by Councilman William H. Cole IV, a supporter who called the center "an unbelievable opportunity."

Of the federal money, $21.5 million will be distributed to 83 local programs that make up Baltimore's "continuum of care" for homeless services. The $9.5 million from the stimulus package will pay for services aimed at preventing homelessness and moving homeless people into stable housing. A recent census counted 3,428 homeless people, 12 percent more than in 2007.

The center would be built at Centre Street and the Fallsway.

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