It is getting COLD outside, right!? Like many of you, it is painful to walk from the car into the grocery store. The sad realization is that thousands of people in our community are without actual shelter for all of their days/nights. With that, though, there are local rockstars who have come up with create solutions to help.
Get ready to meet my new friend, LaQuida Chancey, or lovingly, Q. She is making a real impact on the City of Baltimore in the most basic way: putting a roof over everyone’s head. Smalltimore Homes is her Baltimore-based nonprofit. They build temporary shelters for our homeless residents in the City. This is one tangible way we can help the homelessness epidemic in Baltimore.
Housing should not be a weapon, it’s a vital sign. If we can give housing to everybody, the community will be stronger. Period.-LaQuida Chancey, Smalltimore Homes
This is not my normal blog post. I was captivated by Q.’s energy that I figured, what the heck, let me share our Zoom call. We talked about how our local homelessness is shaped by: historic redlining + unethical real estate practices, education, food deserts, new covid capacity limits and red tape with the City Government.
But what Q. really wants you to know, is that this tiny home solution has worked around the country. Right now, there are a networks of people advocating for this initiative. As I’m sure you realize – they cannot do it alone. Offering medical care and distribution of masks, sanitary products, food and clothing regularly are also part of this nonprofit. There is a great deal of need. At the end of this video, I hope you feel similarly to me: called on to do something (more ways to help listed below).
Without further adieu…here is my friend, LaQuida Chancey. Founder of Smalltimore Homes
How does it work?
Smalltimore Homes are mobile micro-shelters with a very simple design. Micro-shelter initiatives have worked well in California and Colorado among others. They are made of wood and come in a 5ft x 7ft model and and 8ft by 8ft model. Local artists paint murals reflective of Charm City. They are insulated and provide temporary shelter in a tiny house village presently located in a community garden.
Why do we need this?
We have about 4,000 documented homeless in Baltimore City without enough shelter beds to help. With COVID, the capacity limits are further restrained. Simply put: there aren’t enough beds to accommodate the people in need. Smalltimore Homes is at that forefront of creative problem solving with their micro-shelter village in the city.
How did it start?
The origin of Smalltimore Homes is abundantly clear. When Q. drove around her city, she was perplexed as to why all the the homeless people she saw looked like her. Why she and her collegiate peers were able to get an education and progress forward. It all comes down to housing. Before her parents, she purchased her own home and began to invest in real estate in Baltimore. In her business she coaches locals on how to invest, wisely but also ethically. This was where she found the strong connection between real estate and it’s privilege that keeps certain people in/out of poverty.
Brass Tacks: How Can We Help?
Outside of hands on volunteers, you can donate vital necessities or make a tax deductible monetary donation. Shelter sponsorship is $1,750. If you and three of your friends throw in $440 you will give a person a home. Another accessible donation option would be $100 for a hand washing station (another imperative item as COVID continues to spike in our area in this second wave).
Still not sure how you can help? Visit my friend’s Joe + Karley at The Eden Co where they are donating all proceeds of their Stay Kind Bmore merch to Smalltimore Homes.
Where Can I find Smalltimore Homes?
- Visit the site for donations, events and volunteer opportunities
- Find them on Instagram and Facebook
- Subscribe to their YouTube
Additional Resources: there is a lot to unpack and maybe some new terms learn about.
- Incredible National Association of Realtors article, click here.
- To read more about the Fair Housing Act, click here.
- Overview of terms: redlining, blockbusting, steering- click here.
- Recently, Long Island NY made headlines when a 3 year investigation concluded and shared results of their findings. Here is a great resource to learn about what happened there; it may help you understand exactly what this looks like in your own community.
- Incredible documentary on Baltimore: Charm City