Groups extend program for city homeless

Hands In Partnership identifies, assists needy

January 13, 1999|By Gerard Shields | Gerard Shields,SUN STAFF

Bracing for a change in the way Baltimore handles its downtown poor, the Downtown Partnership and Baltimore Mental Health Systems will extend a program aimed at identifying homeless people and getting them necessary services.

The Hands In Partnership program has helped identify 60 downtown homeless people since May. The program involves six public safety guides trained to identify the needy and link them with homeless outreach agencies.

In addition, once a month a group canvasses areas where the homeless gather in search of the needy.

"Without this important program, some people who desperately need help may never get it," said Laurie Schwartz, president of Downtown Partnership.

Over the next few weeks, Associated Catholic Charities is expected to unveil a proposal concerning Our Daily Bread soup kitchen. The Cathedral Street site feeds lunch to as many as 900 individuals a day. Downtown business leaders want to move the facility out of the path of redevelopment, and are offering to pay for an alternate location where the homeless can receive expanded care, including job training and medical help.

Extending the Hands In Partnership pilot program will help downtown's most needy, said Sharon Lipford, associate director of Baltimore Crisis Response Inc.

"The HIP initiative allows a multidisciplinary approach aimed at providing 24-hour case management, crisis intervention, mobile treatment and outreach to homeless and mentally ill citizens," Lipford said.

Pub Date: 1/13/99

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