I found out that the CoC Board is soliciting feedback “to inform the creation of a workgroup to address street homelessness. Preliminary considerations have included objectives related to shelter improvements, bridge housing implementation, citywide outreach strategy development, Coordinated Access refinement, data and evaluation practices, and advisement on City protocols and actions.”
These are the answers that I submitted to their questions:
What are your primary concerns about street homelessness in Baltimore City?
People living on the streets are often doing so because there is nowhere else where they can live together as couples or families. Every shelter is separated by sex, which mean that women would be separated from the men they love and in turn feel more vulnerable. This is also a problem for LGBTQ people experiencing homelessness. A shelter setting put them at risk for discrimination by staff and residents.
What recommendations do you have for the goals and structure of a committee that is focused on approaches to street homelessness?
Please look at why people are living on the street and why they don’t want to go to certain shelter programs. Allow people to stay in place in encampments where they have a social network and community until they have permanent supportive housing. Encampment closures cause residents to lose their homes and autonomy and are post-traumatic stress reminders of when they first became homeless.
Stay tuned to see what happens next…