One Night Stand for Homelessness
Lionel Foster is many things and has accomplished quite a bit: Johns Hopkins grad. Marshall Scholar. Magazine writer. Columnist. 40 under 40. Bow-tie connoisseur. I have no business being friends with a gentleman with such a sparkling curriculum vitae–and the man has really only just begun to scratch the surface of all that he’s meant to accomplish.
But perhaps his biggest achievement to date has been bringing attention to an issue that persistently plagues Baltimore City: homelessness. Lionel certainly isn’t alone in his advocacy of the homeless: Health Care for the Homeless and Homeless Persons Representation Project come to mind. But the use of his column as a sort of bully pulpit to galvanize moral support and draw attention to the necessity of ending homelessness has been inspirational, to say the least. Shock value not withstanding, Lionel’s call to action must be heeded. As his Baltimore City Paper colleague Van Smith reports, Baltimore’s homeless population grew by 20 percent between 2008 and 2010. Baltimore has nearly 4100 homeless citizens, with almost 1800 going unsheltered. Even more disturbing–the number of homeless individuals ages 13 through 24 increased by 50 percent, to 640. If that’s not enough to shock us into action, I’m not sure what could.
That said, I’ll be joining Lionel and many other concerned citizens for a sleep-out in front of City Hall on Saturday, November 19, 2011, with the hope of bringing additional attention to the fight to end homelessness. Admittedly, this is a small gesture on my part given all of the tremendous efforts made daily by homelessness advocates and activists. But this is just the first of many, and I hope to see you there.
To learn more, check out Lionel’s site, www.onenightstandforhomelessness.com.