The city council housing committee met today to hear testimony on Resolution 13-0098R. The resolution introduced by Mary Pat Clarke would have given the residents of #Camp83 an extension on their eviction deadline or had them placed in transitional non shelter housing until permanent housing was available.
Only four of the seven housing committee members were present at the hearing including Clarke, Bill Henry, Carl Stokes and William Cole IV. This resolution still as been tabled. Testimony was heard from a few residents of #Camp83 and the public at this hearing.
“Mayor” Nate had the full attention of the council members present as he explained his reasons for not wanting to be at the city’s Housing Resource Center (HRC) shelter. His reasons included inappropriate groping by HRC staff during entry security checks. Tracy Jones testified to the fact she was sexually harassed by staff there. Michele Ewert of Homeless Person’s Representation Project (HPRP) stated that the HRC was not an option for many of her clients past and presently those of #Camp83 for those reasons and more.
Testimony was heard from several community members calling for a public apology from Olivia Farrow, present at the hearing with the Mayor’s Office of Human Services, for derogatory remarks about #Camp83 members. Those remarks were part of a Baltimore Sun article earlier in the week.
Jeff Singer, former CEO of Healthcare For The Homeless questioned the city’s encampment and affordable housing policies. Singer offered to help draft a real encampment policy and affordable housing policy. Kevin Lindamood,current HCH, CEO, called on the city to declare homelessness an emergency and help end it.
Mary Pat Clarke urged the MOHS to have a non profit develop and implement a plan for handling financial donations for #Camp83. Clarke asked for this to be done asap.
There will be another HOUSING & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE meeting next Wednesday, March 13th at 5 pm to address encampment policy as part of the city’s 10 year plan to end homelessness/ Journey Home.