Help for the homeless

Amid the cold, 24-hour shelter has 75 additional beds

December 23, 2008|By Liz F. Kay | Liz F. Kay,liz.kay@baltsun.com

With temperatures dropping, Baltimore's 24-hour, year-round shelter has 75 additional beds during the winter months to accommodate people who need a place to get out of the cold.

The shelter, at 210 Guilford St., has had 350 beds available since Dec. 2, said Diane Glauber, president of Baltimore Homeless Services Inc., part of the mayor's office. The entrance is at the rear of the building, on Davis Street.

"We would encourage anyone out on the street to go there," she said.

Those extra beds will be available for single men and women through at least March 31, Glauber said. The beds take the place of temporary "code blue" shelters that had operated only during certain months or when the temperature fell below freezing.

The shelter provides services such as breakfast and a hot dinner as well as mental health care and help identifying permanent housing options.

Glauber recommended that people arrive before the early evening because the shelter fills up. However, an overflow coordinator will refer clients to open beds at other shelters until about 9 p.m., she said.

Families with children should go to the city Department of Social Services' homeless and environmental services unit at 200 N. Broadway for assistance, she said.

At an event for homeless people yesterday in Little Italy, Antonio Jackson, 59, said he definitely noticed the cold that morning.

"It was so cold I couldn't button up my coat," said Jackson, who attended a Christmas party for the homeless at St. Leo Roman Catholic Church.

Jackson said he doesn't like to sleep in shelters regularly but does go to the Salvation Army in Federal Hill to shower. "I've got to take care of my hygiene," he said

LaShanda Lewis, 29, said sleeping in the street can be dangerous. She said she has seen homeless people get abused and beaten. "Sometimes we got to watch our backs," she said. "When you're out there, people take advantage of you."

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