Thanks for Making the First-Ever HCH 5K a Success!

Thanks to everyone who helped make our first-ever HCH 5K a success! We look forward to building this new tradition for the HCH community. (You can help – click here to give us your feedback).

Despite a somewhat chilly morning, close to 200 runners, joggers, and walkers showed up for friendly competition with friends, family, and fellow HCH supporters.

We were fortunate to have a beautiful sunny day for our race. That means we have some excellent pictures of our racers against the backdrop of Druid Hill Park. If you took pictures, please pass them along via @hchomeless on Twitter, or on the HCH Facebook page.

Overall times are available online. Click here to see where you placed.

Congratulations to David Ringword & John Archibald for setting the 2nd and 4th fastest men’s 5k course records.  Congratulations to HCH Director of Communications Molly Rath & Claire Drigotas for setting the 4th & 5th fastest women’s 5k course records.

A special thank you to Travis Bishop of Bishop’s Events, for organizing the race. Travis will soon a gallery of race pictures on the Bishop’s Events Facebook page, available here.

We look forward to seeing you all again next year!

2014 Annual Community Meeting: Celebrating Our Extended HCH Family

More than 120 Health Care for the Homeless partners, volunteers, donors, and staff members gathered at 421 Fallsway for the HCH 2014 Annual Community Meeting on Thursday, Nov. 6, to celebrate their collective efforts to prevent and end homelessness for vulnerable individuals and families. In reflecting on the contributions of this vast and growing community in the last year, HCH staff highlighted individual partners and volunteers for their standout work and spirit, naming them the agency’s 2014 Community Champions. Staff also honored fellow staff members who embody the core values that drive HCH employees and their work.

2014 Community Champions

2014 Community Champions




Time to Take Action on Affordable Housing: Learning from the Section 8 Lottery

During nine days in October, 74,000 households in Baltimore signed up for a lottery to get on the Section 8 housing voucher waiting list. 25,000 of them will be selected.  Once on the waiting list, the odds are stacked against them; they’ll have a one in four chance of actually getting a voucher over the next six years. In 2020, the lottery for the waiting list opens back up once again.

Many of us—myself included—seized the opportunity to point out both the dystopian nature of this process and the failure of federal policies that drive disinvestment in affordable housing. This morning, the Baltimore Sun published our commentary on the housing lottery, pointing out that something as important as housing shouldn’t be left to chance.

Nevertheless, Health Care for the Homeless stepped up to ensure that everyone who needs housing  got in the lottery.

With two weeks’ notice HCH, along with others in Baltimore’s advocacy and service provider community, rallied to advertise the enrollment window and set up enrollment assistance at eight locations to complement the Housing Authority of Baltimore City’s sites. One of those was here at HCH. And with passion and commitment, our community kicked into gear. We recruited, trained, and encouraged 20 volunteers from all walks of life to help applicants with the web-based application.  We made sure that folks understood what they were—and were not—getting by throwing their hats in the ring.

HCH volunteers worked four-hour shifts during every hour the clinic was open, and signed up 393 households.

Well-executed news stories offer more detail about the lottery enrollment and how it unfolded at HCH and across the city: a WMAR story by Katrina Bush and a Baltimore Sun story in the Sun by Yvonne Wegner.

In true HCH form, our staff and volunteers made us proud. While the lottery enrollment comes with no guarantees, clients who signed up here at HCH left feeling cared for and informed about the process. I want to extend a heart-felt thank you to HCH volunteers and the staff who made this possible—with a very special shout-out to our Volunteer Coordinator Patrick Diamond, who organized and oversaw the HCH effort.

Only good things can flow from this kind of dedication, which makes me incredibly hopeful for our work to prevent and end homelessness moving forward. While such dedication plays out daily here at HCH, last month’s lottery enrollment window offered a very public reminder of what can happen when people come together on behalf of others.

Last month’s lottery enrollment also underscored the need for us to remain resolute in our efforts to reinvest in affordable housing for all who need it. It was a call to action—to keep access to affordable housing front and center on the public radar. In the days and weeks ahead, I hope each of us takes what we learned from the Section 8 lottery enrollment process last month and shares it with a handful of others. We do that, and in pretty short order we become a loud and forceful voice for what is right and fair.

With gratitude for your collective advocacy,

Kevin Lindamood, President & CEO


The First Ever HCH 5K Race Is Just a Few Days Away!

The first-ever HCH 5K race is almost here. If you haven’t registered, there’s still time: you can sign up here. Your race packet will be available at DruidHCH_5k logo_finals Hill Park on race day.

Day-of registration take place at 8am, November 15; the race starts at 9.

After the race, stay around for the HCH 5k Community Picnic.

Runners and their families can join us near the finish line (Latrobe Pavilion) for food, music and games.

We’ll keep warm with picnic food for purchase – chili (beef, chicken, or veggie) with cornbread  for $2; hot dogs for just $1.

Games include Kan-Jam, Ladder Toss, and Cornhole.

Plus our “Fun Zone” has activities for the whole family including Red Light, Green Light (11am), Simon Says (11:20am), Egg Race (11:40am), 3-Legged Race (12pm), and Potato Sack Race (12:20pm).

We’ll keep you hoppin’ with tunes from DJ Dan Rabbitt!

Register today – proceeds will directly benefit homeless individuals and families in our community.


The Baltimore Sun: Coverage of the Section 8 Waiting List

October 30 marks the final day in Baltimore’s Section 8 waiting list signup period. The waiting list was last  open over a decade ago, in 2003 – after today it closes until 2020, with no new applicants allowed regardless of changes in income or housing status. For individuals and families adding their names to the online list in the hope of receiving a public housing voucher in Baltimore City, much hangs in the balance.

In a front page article in the Baltimore Sun (available here), reporter Yvonne Wegner succinctly describes the grim numbers involved in the signup period: “In less than a week, more than 58,000 people have signed up for a chance to be randomly selected for a spot on the Housing Authority of Baltimore City’s Section 8 wait list. Only 25,000 will be chosen, and then only 6,000 to 9,000 are expected to receive one of the housing vouchers.”

Among other activists and experts working to raise awareness of both the waiting list and the housing crisis in our area, Wegner interviewed HCH Director of Community Relations Adam Schneider, who commented on the frustration many are feeling: “This whole thing is so dystopian,” Schneider said. “You can imagine Orwell writing about people in desperate need of some basic human need being prioritized and put on waiting lists, and that’s our reality now. How disheartening. We should be ashamed and we should act to change.”

With so little public housing available, and because so many will be unable to apply due to disability or lack of access to the application, the waiting list has been likened to a lottery. Many  see the sign up period as a moment for our community to come to terms with the severity of the lack of affordable housing, and to take action to reverse the trend. As HCH President and CEO Kevin Lindamood put it on the final day of the signup period, “If you believe one thing about homelessness today, believe this: reports of its demise are greatly – and irresponsibly – exaggerated.”

Wegner’s article is additionally useful as a primer for those interested in knowing more about homelessness and affordable housing in Baltimore. The full article is available here.


HCH and Affordable Housing in The Atlantic Magazine

The Atlantic magazine recently turned to HCH clients and staff, as well as other national and local experts, to investigate the crisis of affordable housing in Baltimore and nationwide. In the first of two pieces published this month, Atlantic reporter Alana Semuels visited some of Baltimore’s vacant rowhouses in the company of Tony Simmons, of Housing Our Neighbors (HON) and the HCH Client Advisory Board. The second installment asked the question, “Should Obamacare Pay for Housing?”

Semuels explains that while 16,000 homes stand vacant in Baltimore, at least 3,000 city inhabitants experience homelessness on a given night because of the dearth of affordable housing available in our markedly affluent state. As she notes, citing the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, “A minimum-wage worker in Maryland would have to work 138 hours a week to afford a two-bedroom unit at fair-market rent.”

One possible means of turning vacant rowhomes into affordable housing is “a community land trust     a non-profit that will hold the title to the land in order to make it permanently affordable.” But proponents of converting vacant homes are worried that before this or any solution can be implemented, developers will transform tracts of abandoned housing in ways that doesn’t incorporate any affordable units.

Semuels’s second article begins with the provocative question of whether “Obamacare” should pay for housing, in order to consider the importance of housing to health care. She speaks with HCH CEO & Kevin Lindamood, who explains that the question is really about our willingness to devote adequate resources to our social support network: “The broader reality is that, as a country, we’re spending roughly 40 percent of what we spent in 1979 before contemporary homelessness. The safety net isn’t there in the way it once was, and there’s not enough housing to go around.”

Within the context of a safety net that ensures a dignified quality of live for everyone, housing is an indispensable component. As HCH Director of Community Relations Adam Schneider points out, our community pays the price for leaving people on the street: for example, shelter accommodation for a family of four costs over $3000 a month. Socially funded housing is, in Schneider’s words, “the far more human, effective, and efficient way.”

A follow-up discussion on housing and health care on the Marc Steiner show on WEAA, prompted by Semuels’s articles, featured commentary from Simmons, former HCH Executive Director Jeff Singer, and Rachel Kutler of United Workers in response to the problems and potential solutions raised by Semuels’s articles. That thought-provoking conversation is available to stream here,


No Lost Causes – Annual Community Meeting 11/6

It’s time to engage, get energized, and connect with friends who share your vision for a world without homelessness.

Click here to RSVP for the HCH Annual Community Meeting on November 6th, 5:30pm at our clinic (421 Fallsway, Baltimore, MD, 21202).


Having trouble with our link? Contact Tara with your RSVP at 443-703-1336 or


Calling Volunteers! Housing Application Assisters Wanted, October 22-30

For the first time in over a decade, Baltimore City is opening the waiting list for “Section 8” Housing Choice vouchers. Unfortunately it will be open for just 9 days, after which it will close again for the next 6 years. We expect that upwards of 100,000 will attempt to apply during this very brief application window. Want to help? Read below!

Health Care for the Homeless is seeking volunteers to assist clients with applying to be on the waiting list, during the application window from October 22-30. 

Interested? Please fill out the form via this link or let contact HCH Volunteer Coordinator Patrick Diamond at

The waiting list application is available online and at a few physical locations. Applying will be burdensome not only for people experiencing homelessness, but also for those with limited access to the internet.

Baltimore City will operate a limited number of physical sites where individuals can apply to be on the waiting list. To be clear, submitting this preliminary application does not guarantee that an applicant will receive a voucher.

Nevertheless, it is important that we work together to ensure that as many vulnerable people as possible apply. This is a concrete way that people in our community regain stable housing.

The Application Assister:

  • Educates consumers of the necessity to apply to access a place on the waiting list.
  • Guides consumers through the online application on the Housing Authority’s website.
  • Explains that this application does not entitle the consumer to housing. Instead this application makes an individual eligible for  a “lottery” for the newly reopened “Section 8” Housing Choice Voucher waiting list.
  • Gathers the consumer’s most reliable mailing address. The Housing Authority will only notify beneficiaries via mail.
  • Asks the HCH patients for permission to store their confirmation number in our electronic patient records.
  • Provides receipt of application and conformation number to the consumer.
  • Defaults to a paper application if technological issues occur.

Volunteers fluent in Spanish are particularly encouraged to participate. HCH will provide training sessions and instructions for all assisters.


Join Us for the First-Ever HCH 5K Race!

HCH is partnering with Bishop’s Events to bring you the first-ever HCH 5K race. The race takes place on November 15th, 9am at Druid Hill Park! Click here for race details and to register.

The Druid Hill 5K Course

The Druid Hill 5K Course

We welcome runners (and joggers and walkers for that matter!) of all abilities at this fun and healthy event. Registration is just $25 ($30 after 10/15), and includes an  HCH t-shirt. Best of all, proceeds will directly benefit people experiencing homelessness in our community.

Click here to register, and start preparing to get into racing form by November 15.

If you’re a beginning runner looking forward for your first 5K, we’re here to provide some excellent resources for you.

A 5k training schedule takes less than 30 minutes a day, three days a week. Train hard, and maybe you can beat the course’s fastest time to date: 17 minutes, 16 seconds!

Register now online at Bishop’s Events! Registration is safe, secure, and only takes a moment.

Our goal is to sign up at least 100 HCH friends and supporters by October 15. So…Spread the word and let’s get running (…or power walking, jogging, strolling, rolling, or just plain ambling)!

If you’d like to volunteer, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Patrick Diamond: We need a team of volunteers to assist at registration and water stations, and to provide refreshments at the finish line. And we welcome friends and family to cheer on our runners!

Most importantly, this run is about celebrating a value we all share – the commitment to building a healthy community that includes everyone.




Mobile clinic meets people where they are

The following article, “Health care provider ‘meets people where they are'” by Danae King, and accompanying video about the HCH Mobile Clinic was published on the - click here for the article and video.

Almost 30 years ago, Health Care for the Homeless was founded in Baltimore to help people “falling through the cracks” of the health care system; now the organization has created a program to ensure that people don’t fall through the cracks of its own system.

“We needed to make sure we were getting beyond these four walls,” said the organization’s CEO Kevin Lindamood, as he sat in the organization’s clinic at 421 Fallsway. “To serve those that are so vulnerable they’re not able to make it here.”

The new program is a mobile clinic that provides health care to homeless people at five locations: the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Housing Resource Center, My Sister’s Place, Sarah’s Hope at Hannah More, Safe Haven and Safe House of Hope.

Working out of a custom-made, 35-foot-long van equipped with two exam rooms and a waiting room, employees set up at the different shelters — potentially adding up to 600 patients. Health Care for the Homeless headquarters helps about 7,000 people each year.

Lloyd Freeman, 43, visited the mobile clinic recently when it was parked in Reisterstown at the family shelter Sarah’s Hope at Hannah More. He brought his 20-month-old daughter, Alannah, to get her a checkup.

As a resident of Sarah’s Hope, the location farthest from the main clinic the van visits, Freeman had been to the van when it visited in the past month. The mobile clinic usually stops at Sarah’s Hope for one day a week.

“It’s really nice,” Freeman said. “It’s really up to date … Stuff like this will help a lot of people in the community.”

The clinic can help patients with a variety of medical problems, said John Lane, the program coordinator who drives the van and helps set it up. Five employees work on the van once it gets to its location, including Lane, as well as a certified medical assistant, an insurance enroller, a nurse practitioner and a case manager, who goes into each shelter and does outreach work.

The van and its staff are funded primarily by a $858,000 grant from the Bureau of Primary Health Care for the startup year. After the first year, Health Care for the Homeless will get $650,000 annually, said the organization’s Chief Strategy Officer Keiren Havens. The organization also did some fundraising, and received support from Mercy Medical Center’s Order of Malta, which gave $50,000, and an anonymous private donor who gave $100,000, Havens said.

Employees help patients enroll for insurance if they don’t already have it, draw blood, give immunizations and write prescriptions.

There are only a few things the mobile clinic can’t do on site, such as provide mental health, dental and addiction care. For those needs, workers will refer patients to the clinic’s headquarters, often giving them bus tokens or a cab voucher to get there.
“We bridge the gap of health care they need,” Lane said.

The goal of Health Care for the Homeless is to “meet people where they are,” said Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman, the organization’s chief medical officer.

It did just that for Terace Banks, 36, of Owings Mills, who happened along while the van was at Sarah’s Hope.

Banks, an unemployed construction worker, has an interest in old buildings and was looking at one nearby when he saw the van and knocked on the door.

It was his second visit to the mobile clinic. His first was for a checkup, and he returned for a follow-up appointment and blood work.

Banks is considering using the van and its staff as his primary care physician because there aren’t a lot of health resources in the area, Lane said.

“It’s awesome to have a resource like this,” said Banks, who lost his job a few weeks ago. He said he’d recommend the mobile clinic to others and has no complaints, though he was intimidated on his first visit until the “staff opened up” to him.

“[It’s important] for us to treat them like human beings … treat them like family,” Lane said.

The program helps about 40 people a week, when it stops at different locations on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. It will soon run Tuesday through Friday, Lane said.
“Homelessness has only gotten worse in recent years,” Lindamood said, adding, “Homelessness is not permanent, and what we find through our work is when people get access to the support they need … people move on to lives where they’re not homeless any longer.”

This support needed is not just health care, but also other services Health Care for the Homeless and other organizations provide, Havens said.

“It’s a very small piece in the larger scheme of Health Care for the Homeless’ mission to surround folks who need it with support they need to get out of homelessness,” Havens said. “It’s one piece of a much bigger pie … there’s something very powerful about bringing it all together.”

Jeanae Trent, 41, visits the mobile clinic while she is staying at Sarah’s Hope. The nurse practitioner helps her manage her degenerative osteoarthritis, and she doesn’t have to take a bus or walk far to get health care.
“It just helps us,” she said.