Towson Rally Aims To Draw Attention To Growing Homelessness In Balto. County

April 19, 2009|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,

There will be a march from a Towson church to the Baltimore County Council chambers Monday night to shed light on the plight of the county's growing homeless population.

About 150 marchers, including residents of the county's shelters, are expected to participate in the sixth annual Rally for the Homeless, organizers say.

"The county needs permanent affordable housing and resources to assist the homeless and those who might become homeless," said Diane Chotikul, chairwoman of Baltimore County Communities for the Homeless.

More than 500 men, women and children are living in shelters across the county, with at least that number or more on the streets or in tent cities that have recently cropped up in several areas of the county, she said. The latest census figures show that about 3,000 people experienced periods of homelessness last year.

The event begins at 5 p.m. with a light supper and entertainment at Trinity Episcopal Church, 120 Allegheny Ave. Participants, carrying lighted candles, will walk to the council chambers shortly before a 7 p.m. meeting of the County Council.

Several plan to address officials on the need to increase funding for social services programs and assistance to those facing eviction and foreclosure, Chotikul said.

In what County Executive James T. Smith Jr. called "our commitment to those suffering most in this crisis," the proposed budget for fiscal 2010 increases several services for those in need and adds eight temporary staffing positions to help handle the influx of requests for assistance.

The budget proposal, which Smith delivered to the council Tuesday, includes $400,000 for foreclosure assistance and counseling as well as a $500,000 donation to the Maryland Food Bank. It also adds $30,000 to a $600,000 emergency fund that allows residents to make a one-time claim to avoid eviction or a utility turnoff.

For more information: 410-887-5968.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.