Adverse Childhood Experiences

Baltimore uses trauma research to improve life for poor parents and their children, By Mark Beckford, August 20, 2017, Washington Post: “One day, when she was 14 and feeling ill, Daylesha Brown’s mother took her to a Baltimore hospital and did not return for her. Child Protective Services (CPS) placed her in a group home and she was forced to move to other homes for the next three years. ‘My mother, she pushed me away,’ Brown, now 23, said softly. ‘I was always getting in trouble with my mother.’  So last year when Brown discovered her daughter, Sa-Maji, had lead poisoning, a lingering problem in Baltimore where the rate of poisoning among children is nearly twice the national average, she was wary that she would lose her child to CPS because of her transient lifestyle. She wanted to spare her child the misfortunes she had experienced…”

Housing and Eviction

  • ‘Here for the eviction’: More renters forced from homes as affordable-housing crisis deepens, By Alden Woods, July 16, 2017, Arizona Republic: “Ken Sumner stepped through the debris of another unexpected move. He weaved around the two men backing a truck through their friend’s barren yard, past a speaker system and stacks of framed photographs, moving toward the front door for his fifth eviction of the day. The evicted man waited alone…”
  • Councilman proposes legal aid for tenants in Baltimore facing evictions, By Doug Donovan, July 17, 2017, Baltimore Sun: “A Baltimore city councilman introduced legislation Monday aimed at establishing a fund that would help low-income tenants facing eviction and other housing problems to hire attorneys, an effort that cities across the nation are exploring or have implemented…”

Eviction – Baltimore, MD

  • Dismissed: Low-income renters in Baltimore become migrants in their own city, By Doug Donovan and Jean Marbella, May 6, 2017, Baltimore Sun: “When the furnace in their West Baltimore rowhouse broke last winter, Denise and Marvin Jones did what they could to keep their family warm — and together. They filed a complaint against their landlord. They boiled pots of water and ran space heaters. They sent their four children to bed bundled in coats, hats and gloves. ‘I didn’t want to separate them,’ Denise said, crying. But ‘it was so cold.’ The family split up in January, fanning out to the heated homes of different relatives across the city even as they continued to pay the $950 monthly rent at their own cold home. They sometimes checked in to motels just to spend a few nights together. But as temperatures rose with the coming of spring, so did their spirits. After five months, their complaint was advancing in Baltimore District Court. And Marvin had located a new home…”
  • Evictions perpetuate Baltimore’s cycle of poverty, Editorial, May 8, 2017, Baltimore Sun: “Evictions are devastating for the families who go through them. The process is all-consuming. Low-income tenants spend hours going to court to plead their cases or begging family, friends and social service agencies for help. They lose time at work, and an already precarious financial situation becomes worse. They live in anxiety about every knock on the door, wondering whether it might be a property agent or sheriff’s deputies ready to dump all their belongings onto the street. And if the worst comes, they may find themselves suddenly homeless, struggling to keep the family together, desperate to provide any sense of normalcy for their children as they are torn away from neighborhoods and schools…”

Housing Subsidies – Baltimore, MD

Housing program used to break up high-poverty areas in Baltimore to stop taking applicants, By Yvonne Wenger, January 12, 2017, Baltimore Sun: “The officials who run a court-ordered program that helps families move from Baltimore’s poorest neighborhoods to areas with low crime and high-performing schools are planning to stop taking new applicants.  Hundreds of people sign up each month for the rental subsidies and counseling, which are offered as a condition of a landmark federal fair-housing lawsuit in Baltimore…”

Affordable Housing

  • In Baltimore, hopes of turning abandoned properties into affordable homes, By Pam Fessler, April 26, 2016, National Public Radio: “Baltimore’s poorest neighborhoods have long struggled with a lack of decent housing and thousands of abandoned homes. Things recently took a turn for the worse: Five vacant houses in the city collapsed in high winds several weeks ago, in one case killing a 69-year-old man who was sitting in his car.  The city needs to do more about decaying properties if it wants to revitalize neighborhoods like those where Freddie Gray grew up, says Marvin Cheatham, president of the Matthew Henson Neighborhood Association in West Baltimore…”
  • In wealthy pocket of Connecticut, an innovative approach to affordable housing, By Matt A.V. Chaban, April 25, 2016, New York Times: “The offices of Hobbs Inc., a third-generation home builder here, are lined with awards and framed articles for the firm’s decades of work. “2008 Best Residential Remodel Over $3 Million.” “2010 Outstanding Home Over 12,000 Sq. Ft.” “Imus in the Afternoon.” “Living Very Large.” In his wood-paneled office on Thursday, Scott Hobbs was going over what may be his most challenging project yet: the Millport Apartments, a 73-unit affordable housing complex in the center of New Canaan. In addition to being president of the family business, Mr. Hobbs is chairman of the housing authority for this town of 20,000 — a place more often associated with Philip Johnson’s Glass House and Waveny, the 300-acre estate of a founder of Texaco, not to mention custom-built Hobbs homes on half- to four-acre lots…”

Affordable Housing

Report: Rental housing supply lags behind demand, By Talia Richman, June 20, 2015, Baltimore Sun: “For families that earn less than 30 percent of the median area income, buying a house is often out of the question. And for these low-income households, finding a place to rent can also be a struggle, the Urban Institute has reported.  Not a single county in the nation offered enough affordable housing to keep up with its extremely low-income renters, the organization said. In the Baltimore region, some counties have fewer available units than the national average of 28 units available for every 100 renter households…”

Lead Poisoning in Children

  • Lead paint is poisoning poor Chicago kids as city cuts millions for cleanup, By Michael Hawthorne, May 1, 2015, Chicago Tribune: “Alarming levels of brain-damaging lead are poisoning more than a fifth of the children tested from some of the poorest parts of Chicago, even as the hazard has been largely eliminated in more prosperous neighborhoods, a Tribune investigation has found.  The toxic legacy of lead — added to paint and gasoline for nearly a century — once threatened kids throughout the nation’s third largest city. As Chicago’s overall rate of lead poisoning steadily dropped during the past two decades, the disparities between rich and poor grew wider…”
  • Freddie Gray’s life a study on the effects of lead paint on poor blacks, By Terrence McCoy, April 29, 2015, Washington Post: “The house where Freddie Gray’s life changed forever sits at the end of a long line of abandoned rowhouses in one of this city’s poorest neighborhoods. The interior of that North Carey Street house, cluttered with couches and potted plants, is lacquered in a fresh coat of paint that makes the living room glow.  But it wasn’t always this way. When Gray lived here between 1992 and 1996, paint chips flaked off the walls and littered the hardwood floor, according to a 2008 lawsuit filed in Baltimore City Circuit Court. The front window­sills shed white strips of paint.  It was worst in the front room, where Gray bedded down most nights with his mother, he recalled years later in a deposition…”

Teenage Pregnancy – Baltimore, MD

Teen pregnancies in Baltimore drop by a third, By Meredith Cohn and Andrea K. McDaniels, February 24, 2015, Baltimore Sun: “Baltimore’s teen pregnancy rate dropped by nearly a third from 2009 to 2013, far surpassing the city’s goal for reducing the rate, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake plans to announce today.  While public health officials cheered the reduction, the city’s rate remains twice as high as the state’s and significantly higher than the national average, which experienced a similar drop, according to government statistics. It’s a particular problem in black and Hispanic communities…”

Baltimore Beginning School Study

What your 1st-grade life says about the rest of it, By Emily Badger, August 29, 2014, Washington Post: “In the beginning, when they knew just where to find everyone, they pulled the children out of their classrooms. They sat in any quiet corner of the schools they could claim: the sociologists from Johns Hopkins and, one at a time, the excitable first-graders. Monica Jaundoo, whose parents never made it past the eighth grade. Danté Washington, a boy with a temper and a dad who drank too much. Ed Klein, who came from a poor white part of town where his mother sold cocaine…”

Health Assistance Program

Needy patients get ‘prescriptions’ for food and shelter through volunteer program, By Sandra G. Boodman, June 18, 2012, Washington Post: “Treshawn Jones was desperate. Jobless for four months, she had burned through her meager savings, was running low on food for her two young children and barely scraping by on weekly unemployment checks of $307 that didn’t begin to cover her overdue $600 utility bill and monthly rent of $900. So in March, while at Children’s National Medical Center with her 2-year-old son, Jones asked a sympathetic staff member if she knew of any resources that could help her family. Within minutes, Jones was meeting with Shalesha Lake, a junior at the University of Maryland at College Park who volunteers for Health Leads, an innovative program that has operated at Children’s since 2001. Three months later, with guidance from Lake, the 35-year-old single mother had completed a free job training course offered by Byte Back, a nonprofit group that provides computer training to underserved District residents, obtained free food and clothes for her children, applied for utility and rental assistance. . .”