Homeless shelter to move

Dixon says city will close Edmondson site

August 07, 2008|By John Fritze | John Fritze,Sun reporter

A month after the city started using Edmondson High School as a temporary homeless shelter, Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon told parents and residents that the facility will soon be closed.

On July 1, the city began busing about 50 homeless people each night to the West Baltimore school, raising fears about student safety and health. Dixon apologized for the short notice.

"It wasn't done intentionally," Dixon said. "But we all make mistakes. We've kind of been moving from place to place because we don't have a permanent location."

Dixon has made addressing homelessness a centerpiece of her tenure and has said the city will build a permanent shelter next year. In the meantime, the administration has set up temporary shelters at sites throughout the city.

At each location, including ones in Butchers Hill and the Station North Arts and Entertainment District, residents have raised concerns about the shelters. A Dixon spokesman, Sterling Clifford, said the city held two meetings with residents near Edmondson High.

"Let's be honest, I don't feel this would happen at Poly-Western," said Evette Holbrook, whose ninth-grade son will start at Edmondson this month.

Dixon said her goal is to have the homeless out of the school by the start of classes Aug. 25, but she did not commit to that date. The city has increased security at the school and allows only those homeless people who arrive by bus to stay, she said.

"This community got one-day notice,"said Del. Melvin L. Stukes, the former City Councilman who represents the area in the General Assembly. "I don't want to hear again of a school being used for a homeless shelter."

john.fritze@baltsun.com

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