On Saturday, October 21, 2017, one of the most iconic R&B groups in music history will take the stage at the Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric for the annual “An Evening of Unexpected Delights” fundraiser to benefit “The Journey Home,” Baltimore City’s 10-year plan to make homelessness rare and brief.
The plan centers on a best practice known as “Housing First,” which emphasizes an increase in programs for men, women and families experiencing homelessness, as well as better coordination of existing services.
According to organizers, about 35 percent of all Maryland homeless are in Baltimore City, enough to fill the seats at The Lyric, which holds 2,564 people.
“The Journey Home brings together the public and private sectors, nonprofits, faith-based organizations, and concerned citizens to work on solutions for preventing and ending homelessness,” said Chuck Tildon, vice president of Government Relations and Strategic Partnerships at United Way of Central Maryland, which serves as the fiscal agent and marketing partner for The Journey Home. “The Journey Home focuses on addressing fundamental causes of homelessness; the lack of affordable housing, inaccessible health care, inadequate incomes, and a lack of coordinated services.”
In January 2008, the Journey Home board adopted what they called “The Journey Home Strategic Priorities.” The purpose of those priorities is to create a strategic framework for continued commitment and collective action, according to Tildon. The Journey Home priorities and strategic plan are complementary documents that contribute to the vision that homelessness in Baltimore will be rare and brief, he said.
“The Journey Home was launched in 2008 in response to the growing call for cities nationwide to develop concrete plans to end homelessness in their respective communities,” Tildon said. “‘An Evening of Unexpected Delights,’ the annual fundraiser for the initiative, began in 2011 and was a collaboration between presenting sponsor Centerplate, the Baltimore City Mayor’s office and United Way of Central Maryland.”
Funds for The Journey Home come from a combination of public and private funds and the annual benefit provides needed flexible funding that is allocated based on real time need by Baltimore’s Continuum of Care.
“Understanding homelessness and why it happens in Baltimore, along with the types of homelessness people are experiencing— from transitional to episodic— is the key to making homelessness brief,” Tildon said, noting that efforts have led to the reduction of homelessness among veterans by nearly 30 percent over the past three years.
The fundraiser stands as a signature event, which organizers put a lot of effort into making sure of its success.
“We pride ourselves on this annual event of unexpected delights by surprising the sponsors, friends and family who support our great mission. We’ve had some stellar acts in the past, but this year’s surprises will not soon be forgotten,” Tildon said. “Boyz II Men will be a fantastic performer and great way to say thank you to our community, bring us altogether and united under a common cause to end homelessness in Baltimore.”
Tildon added that the popular group has broad appeal across several demographic groups and their presence will help introduce the program to more individuals in the community.
Tickets for the 8 p.m. event are $50 to $110. VIP tickets, which include a 6:30 p.m. reception, are $225. General admission tickets are available through Ticketmaster and include the concert and access to an after party.
A limited number of VIP tickets, featuring a VIP reception catered by Classic Catering, premium concert seating and access to the after party, are available for purchase online at www.journeyhomebaltimore.org.