Baltimore needs shelter for homeless women and children...


December 31, 2000

Baltimore needs shelter for homeless women and children

Kudos to Mayor Martin O'Malley for supporting plans for several daytime drop-in centers for homeless persons in the city ("Mayor plans day centers for homeless," Dec. 19). These sites can become real centers of caring, effectively linking public services and private charitable groups with the folks who need them the most.

However, a much larger challenge remains: What happens to the homeless when these centers turn out the lights each evening and the staff and charity workers go home?

There is a serious shortage of safe and decent places for homeless women and women with children to escape the cold, dangerous world of the street at night.

Night shelters are regularly full by late afternoon. The Oasis Station Shelter does a wonderful job of remaining open 24 hours a day every day, but it can only accommodate men.

Where can a woman go if she did not make it into a shelter before the doors close on a full house?

Let's answer that question fast with an Oasis Station for women, where the doors are open 24/7 and the public-private charity heart of Baltimore says "welcome" to homeless women and their children.

Mary Catherine Webb


The writer is the director of social work and pastoral care for Mercy Medical Center.

Full-service city centers could do more for homeless

I believe Mayor Martin O'Malley and the city are taking the correct approach regarding feeding the homeless in the plaza in front of City Hall ("Mayor plans day centers for homeless," Dec. 19).

The majority of homeless people have serious and multiple problems. It is not enough to feed the homeless every day and not address the cause of their homelessness.

It would be better to feed these people at a location that would provide comprehensive services in addition to meals.

Those who insist on feeding the homeless in the plaza need to realize citizens don't need to see the homeless in front of City Hall to acknowledge their plight.

Those who work closely with the homeless would do better to collaborate with the city to ensure the comprehensive centers are adequate to fulfill their function.

The location of the comprehensive centers is not very important, as long as the centers are safe, functional and attractive.

Marie Lewis


Feeding the poor can't be a crime

If feeding the poor in front of City Hall is against the law ("Groups to defy city on feeding," Dec. 13), then Santa Claus should be arrested for breaking and entering.

Chayim Levin


Technology park plan could revive Waverly

A hurried process on the neighborhood level and in city government led to the GEDCO Corp. winning exclusive rights to develop the Memorial Stadium site.

The stadium is now on death row, awaiting the wrecking ball. Yet, through the efforts of some elected officials and a coalition made up of war veterans, Preservation Maryland and some Ednor Gardens residents, there may be a stay of execution, granting it a chance for a new life.

It would make sense for Johns Hopkins University to redevelop the stadium as a research and technology park.

This could revitalize Waverly and Ednor Gardens by providing high-paying jobs for potential home buyers who could walk to work .

We could still have a smaller senior housing project on the site, one more in keeping with GEDCO's available budget and a recreation-YMCA facility.

There is enough space for all.

Anna Mae Becker


Why not take down the telephone poles, too?

The tens of thousands of 60-foot-tall wooden "telephone poles" that festoon every country road in bucolic northern Baltimore County are certainly an eyesore ("Phone tower plans fought," Dec. 26).

I certainly agree with Jack Dillon, director of the Valleys Planning Council, that "Towers by their nature are intrusive and alien to the natural landscape."

I will gladly stand with him in his effort to remove all towers, even the ones that lead up to his house, bringing electricity and telephone service.

After all, aren't those tens of thousands of telephone poles more of an "intrusion upon the landscape" than a relatively few cell phone towers?

Iver Mindel


Without second chances, ex-convicts can't go straight

I have a simple question for the letter writers who would forbid voting by ex-convicts ("Felons should forfeit their right to vote," letters, Dec. 27): What should convicts do after they get out?

Take an 18-year-old kid. Throw him in jail for 5-to-10 years. Don't give him any education or job training.

Don't give him counseling or drug treatment. Don't let him vote.

When he gets out, he has no skills, no job prospects and no voice in the system. Tell me, what exactly should he do next?

Unless we do more to provide second chances, all we'll get are second offenses.

Frank Uy

Ellicott City

John Ashcroft deserves chance to enforce the law

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