Word on the Street (WOTS), Baltimore's homeless street newspaper has been covering some important Baltimore City news stories on current issues supporting the more than 4,000 homeless persons living in the city. Without a doubt, this newspaper is growing and doing a stellar job in connecting readers to local events as well as a providing a platform for what local service providers are doing to end homelessness. Outside of other newspapers in the city also reporting the news on homelessness in Baltimore (The Baltimore Sun, The Baltimore Brew, and others), this street newspaper is organized and published by persons who are or formerly experienced homelessness in Baltimore.
WOTS has the pulse of what is happening live on the streets of Baltimore; and the news reporting they are doing is needed: Baltimore's homeless population is growing; policies to support citizens experiencing homelessness are weak and bills sent up to the MD legislature in the last 3 years that would provide more opportunities for citizens to find affordable housing and fair tenant laws have been cast down. WOTS work along with their supporters (Homeless Persons Representation Project; The Public Justice Center; Healthcare for the Homeless, Baltimore Homeless Examiner and others) is important: they are getting the news as it happens and are networked well to share information across service providers who are also working together to create policies that support the end of homelessness.
The recent stabbing of a homeless man in the City of Baltimore's homeless shelter, not far from the encampment on Fallsway on http://www.wbal.com/article/98347/3/template-story/Man-Charged-For-Homeless-Shelter-Fatal-Stabbing (Source: WBAL Radio) has also been opined by WOTS. I am not surprised by this tragic event. Last year I spoke to residents of the shelter during a workshop I conducted who told me that the shelter was dangerous, festered with roaches and mice and staff persons who did not care about how they treated persons trying to sleep for a night in a bed. There were other horror stories told about this "new facility" that does not have enough beds for the homeless, especially women.
Critically, Baltimore City along with other cities and towns across America are suffering from a deficient of common sense on how to house the homeless and other persons looking for housing: affordable housing is needed - definitive, goal-setting, well-funded programs to get people in affordable, safe housing. I have grown tired of talking about this - where is the money from the government to house America's vulnerable citizens? When will we hear about actual plans to build housing, renovate dilapidated housing and move homeless citizens in them?
Check out Word on the Street http://wordonthestreetbaltimore.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/outrage-and-confusion-at-city-councils-journey-home-hearing/. The link provided is a recent story on the Baltimore Mayor’s Office Homeless Services meeting with community organizers to discuss Baltimore's 10-year Journey Home plan. "Journey Home"...read the story. Baltimore Mayor's Office needs to stop talking about citizens finding a home until they build some houses in the city that people can pay the rent in and change the tenant laws that keep unfair housing going in the city and landlords rich.
Word on the Street is a unique street newspaper in that it offers persons who have experienced homelessness an opportunity to express their voice on the issues outlining homelessness in Baltimore.