Saturday, January 02, 2010

Another homeless camp gets shut down





A cardboard box serves as a living room rug in a homeless camp under an interstate highway in Baltimore.


The days are numbered for an encampment that has been the site of Baltimore's downtrodden for years.

City officials say they will close down the camp this week.

About 10 pitched tents and three other makeshift forts -- some with walls made of rugs -- house the remaining few who plan to stay at the site they have come to call home until the end. City officials say the setup is dangerous, and they are seeking to find housing for the homeless through vouchers and other programs.

On a given night a few months ago, more than 40 people stayed beneath the highway; the number has dwindled to about a quarter of that. City officials say they have been successful locating places for many of them, but letting the others remain is not an option, especially during the winter.

"We've got people who slept out there in the snowstorm with absolutely freezing temperatures," said Greg Sileo, director of community outreach for Baltimore Homeless Services. "And the other thing that is extremely dangerous is that they're lighting fires under there to keep themselves warm. And they're surrounded by blankets and wood and all this stuff. If any of these things catch fire, all of these people would burn up. We can't have that on our hands."

Read the Baltimore Sun report here.

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