Housing department, activist Gaddy to open Baltimore homeless shelter

January 20, 1999|By Gerard Shields | Gerard Shields,SUN STAFF

Baltimore's housing department is teaming with Bea Gaddy, advocate for the city's poor, to open an emergency homeless shelter for women and children.

Daniel P. Henson III, city commissioner for Housing and Community Development, announced yesterday that a city neighborhood services center at 1901 Pennsylvania Ave. will use its gymnasium to create temporary shelter for the homeless through the winter.

Henson welcomed the partnership with Gaddy, who will direct needy women and children to the site, which can handle about 40 people per night. Henson and Gaddy have occasionally been at odds over the safety of buildings she's operated as shelters. By working together, Henson said the two can accomplish the same goal: helping those in need.

"I have a lot of admiration for what Bea does," Henson said in announcing the partnership.

In other housing news, Henson announced:

Remaining families at Murphy Homes public housing will be put into emergency temporary housing as soon as possible when the city begins tearing down the high-rise buildings. The structures are scheduled to be razed next summer. Of the approximately 750 families that once lived in the buildings, 63 remain and are waiting for public housing in the neighborhood, Henson said.

The housing agency demolished 1,750 homes in 1998 and increased the number of court complaints filed against owners of substandard housing to more than 3,600. Court complaints grew from 500 in the last half of 1997 to 2,100 for the same period last year. The actions stemmed from recommendations by a city Substandard Housing Task Force. "The word is out on the street," Henson said. "If you don't take care of your property, the certainity is there that you will appear in court."

Home sales in the city jumped by 41 percent in 1998 over the previous year. The state Department of Assessment and Taxation showed 6,820 sales in Baltimore last year compared with 4,856 in 1997. The average sale price was $77,634, down slightly from $78,976 the previous year. Buyers of about 2,200 homes -- slightly more than a third -- received city assistance in the purchase, Henson said.

The crime-and-grime fight in Rosemont continues. The city will deploy 100 pieces of equipment and 250 workers as part of a three-day cleanup that follows 70 mostly drug-related arrests by the city Housing Authority police over the last few weeks.

Pub Date: 1/20/99

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