At the podium are Frank and Gayle Kelly, campaign co chairs. (Photo credit: Frances “Toni” Murphy Draper, AFRO Publisher)

By Ralph E. Moore Jr.
Special to the AFRO

Where do you go to get some real help in this town?  Homeless and addicted? Male? A woman with children? Who? Where? What?

Well, the Baltimore Helping Up Mission at 1029 East Baltimore Street has been helping homeless men for as long as many of us can remember.  From afar it looks like a place where one can get a roof over a man’s head and food in a man’s stomach. But for the 27 years of its existence, HUM is more than that and helping more in need in more ways with the passage of time.

Recently, with the help of Campaign Chairs Frank and Gayle Kelly, along with donations from individuals and foundations along with funding from Baltimore City and the State of Maryland. Helping Up Mission was able to raise $63 million for a new facility. On Dec. 9, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held to officially open the doors of a new facility for 200 women and 50 children. As an expansion of the original program, it is called the Inspiring Hope Women’s and Children’s Center. It is a 150,000 square foot shelter and addiction treatment center where women and children can stay until they are well.

“The Recovery Journey: Food and Shelter are only the beginning… Our programs are designed to help men and women fighting addiction and homelessness become sober, responsible members of society.  At any given time, we have over 540 men and women on our campuses in various stages of recovery. Their needs are as diverse as the population we serve, and we strive to meet each person where they are with the love of God and the comprehensive services that can lead them to wholeness,” according to their website

To be homeless: sleeping in a car, in a vacant house, in a park or on someone’s couch for the night must put someone in one of the very worst states of mind.  No place to go from the weather (temperatures too cold or too hot), no home to call one’s own: no furniture, no family pictures on the wall, no refrigerator, no bathtub… no privacy of a toilet. And imagine that indignity and uncertainty with an addiction to drugs or drink on top of it all.

But if you come as an overnight guest to the Helping Up Mission, you will at least get a bed, a hot dinner that night and a hot breakfast the next morning, clean clothes and toiletries.  They’ll be a little service in the chapel at night and if you need recovery from addiction, too, someone will help you apply to the Spiritual Recovery Program.

The Helping Up Mission is known for its addiction treatment program.  It combines the latest science around rehabilitation from addiction with spiritual development.  Again, from the HUM website, “For one full year, participants live here at the Mission in a 12-Step therapeutic community.  They’ll be immersed in a culture of healing and wellness that meets their physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs through four timed phases: Seeds of Hope, Alpha, Omega and Life Prep.

There is counseling and work therapy in the first 45 day phase as well as a blackout from outside contacts.  Then, from day 46-105 the emphasis is on personal and spiritual growth with the allowance of outside meetings, healthy living and the creation of an individualized program plus the end of the blackout. Days 106-195 are the Omega Phase described as “education, personal growth, career, fellowship and relapse prevention.” And the last 169 days are called Life Prep with emphases on education, employment, accountability, health and ‘long term spiritual growth.’” If you complete the program, then you graduate!

So, please help those who help others.  Help those who are suffering from the double-whammy of being homeless and addicted to drugs at the same time.  To make a donation or to volunteer, call the Helping Up Mission at 410-675-HELP (4357).

Over the course of a year, HUM provides 182,500 nights of shelter, 438,000 meals, 155,000 items of clothing and personal care items and 6,700 counseling sessions.  The Helping Up Mission Team helps 600 men and women a day.  A mere $2.05 can provide a Christmas meal for someone.

To give, or for more information go to or call 410-675-7500.

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