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Baltimore gets $3.7 million in federal funds to help young homeless people

U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, shown in August, and other political leaders announced that Baltimore had been selected to receive $3.7 million from the federal housing department to spend on helping homeless people under the age of 24.
U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, shown in August, and other political leaders announced that Baltimore had been selected to receive $3.7 million from the federal housing department to spend on helping homeless people under the age of 24. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun)

Baltimore won $3.7 million from the federal housing department to spend on helping homeless people under the age of 24, officials said Friday.

U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen and other political leaders announced at a youth center in East Baltimore that the city had been selected to receive the grant.

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“Every person in Baltimore, in Maryland, deserves to have a safe place to call home, and that is especially true of our young people, and young people who have been separated from their families and have no independent means of support and stability are especially vulnerable and face extreme hardships and trauma,” Van Hollen said.

“It is our obligation to do everything we can to provide resources to end youth homelessness, and that is exactly what this grant is designed to do.”

A state survey estimated that there are 1,500 homeless people under the age of 24 in Baltimore but officials said Friday that the true figure could be as high as 7,500 and that very few of them are accessing services that might help them.

The new federal money will flow over two years to Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young’s office of homeless services, which he recently elevated in stature by having its leader serve as a member of his Cabinet. The grant will span two years and will initially be used to craft a data-backed plan to address homelessness.

Jerrianne Anthony, the director of the homelessness office, said she also hopes the money can ultimately be used to expand rapid rehousing and permanent housing programs. She said the money will let Baltimore show that “homelessness is solvable."

The federal housing department announced last week that it was awarding $75 million to 23 communities across the country. Prince George’s County is set to receive $3.5 million.

Tyree Knight, a 21-year-old who described himself in between homelessness and stability, said he thinks the new money will help people like him, but that it won’t be enough by itself.

“The real problem is getting people that care,” Knight said after listening to the announcement.

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