Homeless center to be built in city Park Ave. building was formerly a bank

August 14, 1991|By Edward Gunts

A former downtown branch of Equitable Bank will be converted by early 1992 to a center for non-profit organizations that work to aid homeless people.

Gov. William Donald Schaefer, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and other dignitaries attended ceremonies yesterday marking the start of a $1.3 million conversion of the building at 111 Park Ave. to the Homeless Support Center.

When work is complete in mid-January, the three-story, 21,752-square-foot building will provide a permanent home for People Aiding Travelers and Homeless Inc.; Health Care for the Homeless; and the Homeless Persons Representation Project -- three groups that currently lease space in the area.

Maryland National Bank, which merged with Equitable, sold the building earlier this year for $300,000 to PATH and HCH. Funds for the renovation came from the state of Maryland, the Jacob and Annita France Foundation, the Abell Foundation and C&P Telephone.

As planned, the center represents a new approach to the problem of homelessness in Baltimore. Organizers say that by bringing complemen tary agencies together at a single site, they can provide better coordination of services and help avoid duplicating efforts.

From the standpoint of community impact, "the location is ideal," said Roberta Maguire of the Homeless Persons Representation Project. "We're all in the general area right now, and people are used to us being there."

Mrs. Maguire noted that the center will not provide food or shelter to homeless people on the premises, although soup kitchens and shelters are within walking distance. Schamu, Machowski, Doo and Associates is the architect for the project, and Stone and Associates is providing construction management.

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