First walk for homeless planned at Lake Montebello


— There are approximately 12,000 homeless individuals in Maryland. An estimated 5,400 of them are children under the age of six.

Additionally, according to officials at the Passionate Hands Transitional Housing of Baltimore, 41 percent of the state’s homeless population are members of families and 36 percent are living unsheltered and on streets or other places not intended for habitation.

What’s more, on any given night, 4,000 Baltimore residents are homeless and women and children count as the fastest growing homeless population in the area, comprising 43 percent of all in need of shelter.

“It is truly devastating for families,” said Niteara Mickey, an executive assistant at the nonprofit agency, which plans to hold its inaugural “Walk for the Homeless” at Lake Montebello on Saturday, November 1, 2014 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“This is the first time for the walk and we’re trying to raise money to renovate one of our newest housing locations because right now we don’t have space to help and house some of our homeless families,” Mickey said. “What we’re trying to do is open a new facility that will house 15 new families with women and children.”

Passionate Hands has been in existence for nearly five years as a supportive housing program which work with homeless women and women with children as well as homeless males from diverse backgrounds.

“We basically support them in becoming self sufficient,” Mickey said. “We have peer recovery advocates who work with the homeless. We help them find adequate housing, employment and we offer job training, life skills training, parenting classes and we also have a well recovery action plan.”

The agency’s mission under Executive Director Yolanda Brown is to help men and women reclaim their lives following traumatic events including, abusive relationships, and loss of financial support, mental illness, incarcerations, and addiction. “Our society relies on safety net programs such as ours to insulate children from harm, however, serving children and families have been overwhelmed by the increasing demand for services,” Mickey said.

The agency seeks to continue to provide comprehensive services and programs to homeless women and their children.

These services include emergency shelter, supportive housing, educational programming, health and mental health services, job training and employment counseling.

“Three words to describe our organization’s [goal] for homeless persons are shelter, support and stability,” Mickey said.

The idea for the “Walk for the Homeless” has been well received in the Baltimore community.

“We are trying to register people and we’re hoping that everyone comes out,” Mickey said.

Representatives from Baltimore’s Housing Department, Johns Hopkins, the nonprofit Women Accepting Responsibility (WAR) and others are scheduled to participate in the event that will include door prizes, a raffle for a 32 inch flat screen television, $100 and $50 prizes.

“It’s going to be a great event and we’re just hoping that we can raise funds to help those who are in need,” Mickey said.

For more information or to register for the walk, call 443-573-8345.