By Demetrius Dillard
Special to the AFRO
Of the numerous challenges facing Baltimore, homelessness has long-been one of the city’s most alarming crises.
Thanks to a partnership between three local organizations, nearly two dozen individuals who were once chronically homeless will now have stable housing.
United Way of Central Maryland, Health Care for the Homeless and Episcopal Housing Corp. (EHC) collaborated this past weekend to facilitate an event that helped the individuals settle into their new homes.
On April 30, about 35 volunteers from the United Way of Central Maryland assisted in moving items into the furnished housing units located in the newly constructed Four Ten Lofts apartment building at 410 N. Eutaw St. May 1 was the official move-in day.
The Way Home project, an initiative led by United Way’s Leaders United group of 2,500 individual donors, provided the household items, appliances and non-perishable food items that were placed in each apartment for the new residents.
“What’s unique about this project is that it allows that neighbor-to-neighbor approach where I can really do something tangible and I know it’s going to make a difference in another person’s life,” said Patti Provance, the director of membership groups for United Way of Central Maryland.
“I think it shows a pathway forward for how we can come together and really help each other over the long term. This is not a quick fix. This is really about setting people up for long-term success.”
Healthcare for the Homeless, an organization supplying comprehensive health care services and supportive services to people experiencing homelessness, was responsible for identifying and placing the individuals who would receive housing accommodations.
Episcopal Housing also played a pivotal role in the move-in event, beginning its path to securing the 20 apartments back in 2018, which consisted of applying for housing tax credits, grants and permits.
Construction for Downtown Baltimore’s Four Ten Lofts, an apartment complex with 76 units, a café and an art gallery, began in January 2020 and concluded in April.
From 2015 to 2017, EHC undertook a similar project that involved providing 12 housing units in Sojourner Place at Argyle Avenue for individuals who were facing homelessness. It gave Dan McCarthy, executive director of the organization a great deal of joy and satisfaction having the privilege to impact the lives of disadvantaged Baltimoreans once again.
“Doing something like this was really hard. There’s a lot of obstacles, from the variety of the cost, design, getting the funding,” said McCarthy, who also serves as a co-managing member of Four Ten Lofts.
“And so when I can finally get this together in this move-in, it makes all that pain all worth it. Again, I am committed to helping people who couldn’t otherwise live in a high level dignity find a place like this to live.”