With six months to go before moving into their new $15.5 million building on the Fallsway, Health Care for the Homeless officials gave Mayor Sheila Dixon a hard-hat tour Thursday.
The three-story building with a partial green roof is walking distance from Our Daily Bread and the city's planned 148-bed emergency shelter and housing resource center. Dixon said having homeless services in one area "maximizes the support people need to get back on their feet."
Jeff Singer, president and chief executive officer of Health Care for the Homeless, said the buildings' proximity to one another will "promote synergy" because the providers can walk people from one place to the next and save on transportation. He said his organization spends about $75,000 per year on bus tokens, in part to get people between the clinic, shelters and food providers.
When it opens, the new building will include a pharmacy, physical and mental health clinics for adults and children, and dental offices - a first in Maryland. It will also feature addictions and housing counselors. The building will not accommodate people overnight.
"We're going to have a remarkable amount of services here," said Kevin Lindamood, a vice president of Health Care for the Homeless.
The roof will be partially covered in sedum plants to mitigate stormwater drainage.
Singer called the new building "a palace" compared with the Park Avenue building the group has occupied for 18 years. After purchasing land at Fallsway and Hillen Street from the city for $1, construction began last August and should be completed by the end of the year. The organization hopes to move in in January.
Meanwhile, Diane Glauber, director of homeless services for Baltimore, said construction on the city-owned shelter and resource center could begin next month. A census this year found the city has about 3,400 homeless people. Health Care for the Homeless serves about 6,000 people each year.
Dixon announced a 10-year plan early last year to end homelessness.