Every house should feel like home


By Jess Leopold, Director of Housing Services

Moving into a new apartment isn’t always the warm welcome you might expect.

Clients often turn their key to find bare rooms. There are no pots to prepare meals and no beds to sleep on.

As Director of Housing Services, many people I work with spend years fighting for housing, only to spend their first weeks in an apartment sleeping on the floor.

But new tenants thrive once they have the basics: beds, lamps and kitchen supplies.

They tell me: 

  • "My babies love their bedroom, and there’s nothing like seeing the joy on your children’s faces.”
  • “Now that I can prepare my meals—my blood sugar has stabilized and my sugar has gone down!”
  • “I now have a home, not just a place to lay my head.”

Right now there are 52,000 Baltimore residents on a waiting list for housing vouchers that closed in 2018. If that doesn’t tell you something is wrong, I don’t know what will!

I’ve seen just how difficult it is for people experiencing homelessness—particularly Black and brown clients—to get an apartment. White renters are far less likely than
applicants of color to be “ghosted” by apartment brokers or pressed on their credit score and ability to pay.

This is one of the many reasons why we see significantly more people of color experiencing homelessness.

You and I need to call out these racial disparities and acknowledge this reality when we vote and advocate for policy change.

At the same time, harm is being done now. And there is work we can do to help today. Health Care for the Homeless will help at least 35 individuals and families return home in 2022, in addition to more than 450 households that will continue to receive housing support.

For many, this winter is the first holiday season in their new homes—let’s make it joyful!

Will you give a "warm welcome" home to our newly-housed neighbors?



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