New Shelter For Teens In Need Opens In Park Heights

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s the first of its kind in Maryland — an apartment complex for homeless young people.

Mary Bubala reports the official grand opening was held Wednesday and it marks more than shelter; it’s a new way forward.

State and city officials gathered inside a former elementary school. It’s now called “Restoration Gardens.”

It’s a 33,000 square foot facility in Park Heights for homeless and at risk young people.

Luther Thompson, 22, just moved in after becoming homeless at age 18 when foster care in Indiana ended. He moved to Maryland and was going from friend to friend and relative to relative, but now has a place to call his own.

“It’s a blessing for me because my family lineage shows nothing but struggle, but now I don’t have to do that anymore,” said Thompson.

Restoration Gardens has 43 efficiency units. It’s permanent housing for young people ages 18 to 24.

“I think it’s a blessing to be able to help people, those who are in need. It’s a wonderful building to live in, it’s a great apartment, the community is very welcoming. Friendly people who live here are very loving and caring,” said Tabesa Brinkley, Resident Assistant.

Supportive services are also offered to tenants, including life skill and financial counseling.

Those who are given a chance are giving back.

“My leadership role is to reach back to those still going through homelessness and pull them up and pull them out and show them that there is hope,” said Thompson.

Nonprofit developers — Empire Homes of Maryland and Homes for America — took an idea and made it a reality.  City and state funding was also used.

For more information on the project, click here.

More from Mary Bubala
  • Mary Jane

    Sheriff I must say you are a racist PIG. Maybe you should take the time and go over to this shelter for young adults you might see some WHITE ones there. You are really full of yourself be careful how and who you label people they may have to help you one day.

  • MC

    Oh great…more section 8 type housing…lets make something nice for people who don’t work or give a damn and let them run it into the ground. Who’s paying for this? Oh right, the wealthy who do work hard and do give a damn. Same old same old with liberal MD.

    • Maryland Mom

      You are a trip MC. You must dont know how it feels to struggle and the way your talking, you wouldnt even know how to survive if you had to struggle. You dont know the sad look on a young teen mothers face who has been forced out on the streets with her young children and have no place to go. I know because I see it everyday. The way I feel about it is that if you dont know or understand the struggle then dont speak on it because right now you are being ignorant to something you dont understand.

    • Hopeful

      All the residents if this facility are working or in school. They also pay rent. Maybe you should ask questions before making incorrect statements.

      • sheriff

        Yeah sure & they get their $$$ from a cracker jack box.

    • L.Thompson

      I’m Luther Thompson, the young man in this clip. I feel sorry that you feel that way. I’m sorry that you feel like young people don’t deserve a head start or to be afford the opportunity to a stable home(something I’ve never really been exposed to). Because of this “run-down, waste of a section 8 type housing project”, I am an ACTIVE board member of the Baltimore Homeless Youth Initiative-Youth Leader’s Coalition, I work with the Public Justice Center and assist their efforts in advocacy and peer-to-peer mentoring. There are those who make mistakes and there are those you make a difference. I’m grateful that someone cared enough to lift me up and push me out of the nest; because, instinctively, i began to sore. I’m flying higher than I had ever imagined being possible. Best of all, i’m reaching back to those who are still going through what I’ve been through. There’s therapy behind that. If I were you sir, I would be very careful of the comments I make..You may be wealthy, but right now, you’re sounding a tad-bit ignorant.

  • Lulu

    Sherriff should visit Park Heights and see that it is integrated. I think the only color that does not live there is his color. A PINK racist pig. You will be the first one.

  • State Employee

    sherriff you must have not been on Martin Luther King Blvd, all you see is your kind doing is begging. So lets stop the racist thing.

  • jewel

    i think that MC has the right idea… it is state run, which in itself is a disaster, and we will be the ones paying for it, on top of our own bills, all for those who will possibly take advantage of every opportunity. i am just glad that there is an “age out” rule, but who knows they may sue as the rest of the world saying they are being discriminated against due to age… WELL JOIN THE CLUB! BLAH BLAH BLAH….

    • Maryland Mom

      Jewel really,,, climb back under your rock. LMAO Your being ignorant too!!!

    • Hopeful

      This is not a state run facility. The state contributed to the’s run by a private nonprofit. Please get informed prior to making sweeping, inaccurate and uninformed statements.

      • Annoyed

        Hopeful unfortunately people run their mouths without opening their eyes or ears!
        No one is saying they are discriminated against, “jewel” (though I doubt you are), it is for AT RISK young adults, people who are not safe in their current surroudings. God forbid you ever be in a situation like they have been put in. And what does it matter if it was a state run facility? They’re not raising your taxes for it and they’re not asking you to cut a monthly check so get over it and quit acting like you know where every penny you pay in taxes goes!

  • DeWayne Alston

    thank you Hopeful… someone with a heart and some sense.

  • Almatrice Battle

    I am so annoyed at the ignorant comments made. Facing these hard economic times everyone is really balancing the budget give the young people a chance. I would rather see them in housing then trying to make a way doing illegal things and we have to pay for them to be in an institution with no future. Thank God for ousing fr them !!!!!

  • Jimmy Wayne

    Baltimore, You rock! Thank you for taking care of these youth! You have my support. Please log onto and Let me know how I can help.

    thank you- Jimmy Wayne

    • Anita Cizek Moore

      Thank you Jimmy for all that you actively do for young adults!!! Keep up the good/positive work with Meet Me Halfway! Come visit us soon in Baltimore!

      Your biggest fan,

    • Connie Lee Cowan

      I left a longer comment further down, but I wanted to directly thank you, Jimmy Wayne, for founding Project Meet Me Halfway to give back and help this problem. Readers please visit to learn more about youth homelessness. Thank you for caring.

    • konstadina karkani

      Jimmy you put the little rock to open our eyes,everyone’s eyes that the foster kids needs our support and our love.That people still care and interest for them.Thank you and you Baltimore.

  • MMHSupporter

    There was a guy who walked half way across America last year to make this possiable and put it in the public view. If we cnt help our neighbors bc of the color of their skin or their age smthings weong with that. Right now a lot of young adults are still livin with their parents bc of the economy. Everybodt deserves a 2nd chance. You never kno one of these youth could turn out to be the next Jimmy Wayne or even possiably the next preisdent. All someone ppl need is sm1 to show them they belive in tham and that u cn change ur stars.

  • Jennifer Johnston St Onge

    Thank you for all you are doing to help our Homeless and at risk teens. I wish more states would follow your lead and do more if even anything at all to help these children that have no where to go, and con not get the help they so much need just to survive in this world. May God Bless all that you are doing in this project to help them get on track and begin to have a better life!

  • Robin Hall

    I hope this project can be used as a model in other cities and states. The idea of offering financial councelling and Life skills to kids who have lost direction or never had the chance for it, is a greatly needed benefit. Despite what others may think this sounds like a “hand up” project instead of a “hand out” one. Kudos, to the city of Baltimore and the State of Maryland. People might think this is a waste of tax payer money, but in the long run it benefits everyone financially. Taking money to keep kids off the street and to help them prepare for life is financially cheaper than paying for jail, prison, court costs, pregnancy and welfare. Instead of wasting time spreading negativity and hate perhaps all those who seam to be against this, will take the time ot go see what it is about, and perhaps will volunteer their time and efforts trying to help make a positive impact in this society. Thank you to those who are trying to make a difference!!

  • Tanya Rodgers

    Kids who have been stomped down need a chance at opportunity,too. Will they all succeed? Of course not. Not all of the kids who started out with average American families do either. At least wtih a place like this these young people have a chance to get their feet under them. Kinda hard to find a job or go to school when you don’t have the basics of an address, a phone, clean clothes, and a positive adult mentor of some kind. I think this is a great new asset for the people of Baltimore!

  • Christine (a Jimmy Wayne fan)

    I think this is a fabulous idea. Do any of you know what happens to kids when they age out of the foster care system? It’s a disgrace. Even if they are still in high school once you turn 18 you are out on your own. I don’t know about the rest of you but I know there’s no way I could have fully supported myself at 18 and still finish school. At least this place is offering hope as well as training and education so that eventually these kids will be able to take care of themselves. I dare all of you who’ve made negative comments to try living their lives for just one day. I bet you couldn’t do it. Stop the hating and be glad that these people are safe, off the streets, and making progress toward productive lives. And for all the people commenting about race, I’ve worked with kids in foster care and all the students I had were white.

  • Ginger

    Hope this kind of work spreads all over this country..These kids deserve love, support, respect..and a chance…One of these kids may be the one to become the Dr. who finds a cure for cancer, MD, or Ms!! God Bless this shelter!!!!! These kids are not “trash”..and should NOT be thrown out as if they were!!!! They are strong, smart and survivors..who deserve a chance and our help!!!

  • MMH supporter

    Wow! That’s great…glad to see people are becoming aware. Great job Baltimore!!

  • pittsburghwendy

    Way to go Baltimore. Great job. Now if we can only get a chain of these across America. Youth Housing R Us. These youth are in their situations not by choice. They are our future. We need to help them become happy productive adults.

  • Pallavi

    Wow! This is super cool and I hope something like this can be replicated in other cities. Our young people deserve a fighting chance to ‘make it’ and all the support we can pull together for them! Go Baltimore!!!

  • Serena Hunt

    This is great! Homelessness affects every age group, not just adults. And not every kid has had the benefit of a family member to give them love, guidance and support. These aren’t people trying to live off someone else’s dollar – they’re young people who are trying to learn how to navigate life. If we guide them now, they stand a better chance of succeeding. Wish more communities saw the potential of youth instead of sweeping them under the rug. Log onto and learn more about helping at-risk and homeless youth.

  • lorendasue

    I’m agreeing with the folks who hope this provides a model to be used in other areas. For people who have found themselves at the bottom of our society, the additional services of having training, leadership opportunities, and support are vital. It’s intensive work to shed the layers of “I can’t” and having been told “you’re good for nothing” to reveal individuals with the potential to bring wonderful things to our society. Hope there are some follow-up stories on how this is working.

  • Di

    A wonderful opportunity our youth in need are definitely able to use as they transition in life.
    A true blessing as anyone who’s ever known homelessness will understand.

  • julieNwyoming

    Thank you Empire Homes of Maryland, Homes for America and the City of Baltimore for seeing the potential in homeless youth instead of judging them. If more people would take the time to understand youth homelessness they would see that same potential. Having a place to live and the opportunity for life skills and financial counseling will give these youth the chance they need to improve their situation and succeed. For most homeless teens, that is all they are asking for…just one chance. I invite anyone reading this to learn more about teen homelessness by visiting the Project Meet Me Halfway website at

  • Doug Skopp

    A wonderful idea, a model for other communities–I know my city in upstate New York needs this kind of imagination and determination. With best wishes and congratulations to all of you who made this possible.

  • Jennifer A. (

    This is an icredible step in the right direction! Most of these youth didn’t ask for the situation they were put in, so thank you Maryland for giving them a chance at a better life!

  • Dawn White

    I support anything that you can do to support the young
    in foster care; I was almost there myself
    Teaching at the local university in California and the junior college, I see many of these youths trying to turn their life around(even though they did not initially create it). I am totally behind the efforts of Jimmy Wayne and MMH. GOD BLESS JIMMY WAYNE AND ALL OF HIS SUPPORT STAFF FOR MMH!!!!

  • Campfire Sky

    BRAVO RESTORATION GARDENS!!! You are making a difference, one kid at a time. Hopefully this example can be blue-printed all across the country. Yes, you can change your stars..

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