By Pat Warren

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh has developed a “workgroup” to help house thousands of homeless people in the area.

Mayor Pugh’s Workgroup on Homelessness recommends a multi-pronged strategy for permanent housing that includes public and private funding.

Wednesday, Pugh said the cost of ending homelessness in the City will cost hundreds of millions of dollars but it’s doable.

In August, many homeless people had set up tents in front of City Hall to bring attention to the problem.

“We’re trying to get the mayor to know when she first got here, she said she was going to donate money to donate money to help the homeless get off the street,” said Jelana Cole who is homeless. “You got pregnant people, you got people with kids sleeping on curbs, sleeping on the streets. It’s not right.”

“I had conversations with a couple of those folks and went out and talked with people who were in those encampments and I tell folks you have to treat homelessness as if it were you,” Pugh said.

In January, it was estimated that 2,269 homeless people are in Baltimore, 43 percent of that number were using emergency shelters, 37 percent were in transitional housing and 20 percent were on the street.

Homelessness has been an issue through previous administrations as well.

“But somebody’s gotta lay that out and say here’s what it takes and this is what it costs and that’s where I am right now,” Pugh said.

The Journey Home organization’s mission is to end homelessness and raises up to $1 million a year, but tens of millions more are needed.

The City depends on federal dollars for 77 percent of its overall homeless budget.

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