Gaddy's shelter corrects violations, gets OK to operate

January 22, 1994|By Laura Lippman | Laura Lippman,Staff Writer

A West Baltimore homeless shelter run by Bea Gaddy has corrected most of its housing code violations and may continue to operate, city housing authority officials said yesterday.

The shelter, which opened Jan. 10 in a warehouse, was cited last week for 10 hazards, including the lack of emergency exits, inadequate space between beds and debris throughout the building. Tuesday, a week after the violations had been noted, the city said it would have to close the shelter. Officials offered to find other shelter beds for the 55 people who were staying at the building and to arrange transportation.

But Ms. Gaddy and the shelter's residents threatened to barricade themselves in the building, forcing the Housing Authority of Baltimore City to give them more time to correct the violations. Housing Commissioner Daniel P. Henson III also offered to provide city funds and workers to install a required emergency exit.

By yesterday, the drafty warehouse had undergone a striking transformation, with lights relieving the gloom and smoke detectors installed. Up to 90 people will be allowed to stay in the shelter now.

The shelter, in the 2400 block of W. Baltimore St., still needs special zoning approval from City Council. Councilman Melvin L. Stukes, a 6th District Democrat, has promised to introduce the necessary legislation.

Ms. Gaddy's troubles have generated a burst of donations, she said. In three days, several thousand dollars have flowed into her nonprofit organization, the Patterson Park Emergency Food Center. Still, Ms. Gaddy says she needs another $20,000 to improve the shelter's heating system and redo the bathrooms.

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