What Baltimore could do for homeless migrant children [Letter]

June 16, 2014

The concern of federal and local officials for homeless immigrant youth is touching ("Rawlings-Blake voices concern over immigrant shelter," June 10).

Thank goodness their opposition to this shelter isn't based on the ethnicity of these children, as might be the case in less enlightened environs.

With the leadership of these officials, however, and with the support of many individuals and institutions in the Baltimore area, we can open our hearts and doors to these homeless children.

Sens. Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski (she is a former social worker, after all) could assure that the federal government transforms the Social Security Administration building into a wonderful shelter. The many talented architects in Baltimore could compete to design such a facility.

The schools of social work, medicine, nursing and dentistry at the University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins, Coppin and Morgan could provide a plenitude of services, as could the dedicated staff at the Baltimore City Department of Social Services, the Baltimore City Health Department and the many fine nonprofit agencies here.

As our mayor recently observed, it is easy to criticize but more useful to offer solutions. With broad collaboration, the youth shelter at the Social Security building could become a national model — and perhaps some beds could be set aside for the hundreds of youth from Baltimore who have nowhere to call home.

Jeff Singer, Baltimore

The writer is a clinical instructor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work.

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