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United Way Combats Homelessness In Baltimore With Event At Convention Center

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Christie Ileto joined WJZ's News Team in the fall of 2012. She was...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A project to end homelessness in Baltimore draws thousands to the Convention Center downtown.

Christie Ileto explains this year the turnout is greater than years before.

Tammy Grinder navigates through a labyrinth of tables Thursday. She’s one of more than 1,200 people lining up to take advantage of Project Homeless Connect at the Convention Center–an event that helps low-income and homeless families.

“I’m trying to get help with maybe my security deposit. You know, just resources for other things that I need,” Grinder said.

Men, women and children in need get paired up with a guide and get help with things like housing, hair cuts, job searches and health screenings.

“It’s more than giving somebody a brochure. Real services in a host of areas are being provided here today. And I think the turnout today is indication there’s still tremendous need in our community,” said Mark Furst, CEO, United Way Central Maryland.

Dental vans are a big hit this year, because there are tons of people who are in need of teeth cleanings, extractions and cavity fillings.

“I want to make sure that my neighbors are in good health and well taken care of. And the best thing that I can do is provide the stuff I was trained for,” said dentist Michelle Andersen.

Numbers show every night, 4,000 people in Baltimore have no place to lay their heads. Hundreds of them are children. And families are the fastest growing homeless group in the state.

“Maybe some stuff me and my daughter need,” said Grinder.

Organizers hope the event will help bring down that soaring statistic, and get Baltimoreans like Tammy Grinder back on their feet.

The event was modeled after similar projects held in Denver and San Francisco.

United Way of Central Maryland says early numbers show more than 2,000 people took advantage of the one-day event.

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