BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Police reopened a stretch of Guilford Avenue Friday after shutting it down for nearly three hours to clear out the homeless people who have been camped out under I-83.
City workers tried and failed to relocate some of Baltimore’s homeless population.
The homeless who camp in the area had their belongings in the street and they are refusing to leave and move to a shelter in East Baltimore.
A handful of people camped near Guildford Avenue and Pleasant Street say they will not move to the shelter as Mayor Catherine Pugh planned.
She announced two weeks ago that the city would clear the encampment because of safety concerns like poor sanitation, dangerous behavior and the risk of hypothermia.
“As history has shown, they move them into temporary housing and then put them back out on the streets in a short period of time,” said homeless advocate Mark Schumann.
One homeless man told WJZ he has seen some of those around him freeze to death this winter, but he feels safer in a tent than a city dormitory.
“I know many of people freeze out here and die,” said Kelvin Morris who is homeless. “A lot of us don’t want to go to the shelter. The shelters run like prison. The people working around the desk treat you like a dog.”
About a dozen of the people did move willingly to the building across town. A lot of the homeless who remained say if the city enforces the clear out, they’ll find somewhere else to go but will not move into a shelter.
Volunteers of America Chesapeake runs the facility. The sent the following statement to WJZ.
“Its ultimate goal is permanent housing for the homeless with immediate plans in place to provide case services, housing locators, behavioral health services and employment services.”
The $1.5 million program was set up for the homeless in East Baltimore. It gives 40 people housing for up to a year.