- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 6, 2003


   BALTIMORE (AP) — Between 2,200 and 2,500 homeless people live on Baltimore’s streets and in emergency shelters, according to a preliminary tally of data from the first city-sponsored homeless census.
   Men, women and children were found in drop-in centers, at transitional housing facilities and on sidewalks. But exact figures and a breakdown by race, military service and duration without permanent shelter won’t be released until next month.
   “It still leaves a lot of questions to be answered when the final report is issued next month,” said Melvin Edwards, a spokesman for the city’s Department of Housing and Community Development, which organized the census. The census was funded by the Maryland Veterans Administration, the state and Associated Black Charities.
   The census information is expected to help officials map where the homeless gather and pinpoint how to distribute about $24 million in federal, state and local funds among 65 homeless-service providers.
   Some city advocates for the homeless tentatively embraced the preliminary tally, though it falls short of the long-standing estimate that 3,000 homeless people live in the city.
   The count didn’t include wooded areas or the deep corners of parks, where some homeless sleep during good weather. “So there may be a percentage of homeless that were missed,” said Danise Jones-Dorsey, director of public policy for the statewide Center for Poverty Solutions.
   New strict federal requirements call for cities seeking federal money to pay for homeless needs to provide more accurate accounting of their numbers. Detailed counts are also essential for organizations that assist the homeless and city outreach programs, Miss Jones-Dorsey said.
   “For those entities that need very specific numbers for their budgets, this comprehensive census was a must,” she said.
   

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