Baltimore will keep homeless in hotels through June, but hasn’t tapped federal money set aside to pay for it

Baltimore will continue housing about 500 homeless residents in hotel rooms at least through June, extending a program designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, even though it has not yet applied for $35 million in federal money that would pay for it.

Tisha Edwards, the acting director of the Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services, said the city made the decision in early March to extend its contracts with local hotels rather than let them expire while Maryland is experiencing an uptick in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.

“As long as there is a need, we are more than willing to make those hotels available,” Edwards said of the program, which is designed to keep homeless residents from congregate living centers during the pandemic. “We still have a lot of work to do to get into the homeless community to reach optimal vaccination [rates].”