Baltimore Homeless Census 2009

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The Project

Under the leadership of Mayor Sheila Dixon, The City of Baltimore conducted its biennial homeless census count in January 2009. Baltimore Homeless Services, Morgan State University's School of Architecture and Planning, Baltimore Homeless Youth Initiative, and the Johns Hopkins Center for Adolescent Health have all partnered to conduct a count of homeless individuals/families and young people (ages 10-24) in Baltimore City.

According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), an unsheltered homeless person resides in a place not meant for human habitation, such as cars, parks, sidewalks, and abandoned buildings (on the street).

On January 22, 2009, volunteers walked the streets in downtown Baltimore and counted unsheltered individuals from 1:00 to 6:00 a.m. They also conducted a brief survey with those individuals who are available to talk. During the day from 8:30 am to 6 pm, volunteers and staff visited soup kitchens, drop-in centers, some shelters and other places frequently visited by the homeless to conduct the brief survey.

Conducting a census of the homeless population on a regular basis provides an estimate of the number of persons who are homeless and their critical needs. With this information, policies and programs can be more effectively implemented to provide better outcomes for this vulnerable population.


  • Established in 1987, the Baltimore Homeless Services (BHS) is responsible for planning, coordinating and implementing Baltimore City's Continuum of Care for those at risk of and for those persons actually experiencing homelessness. The mission of Baltimore Homeless Services is to make homelessness a rare and brief experience in Baltimore City. In fiscal year 2009, BHS will administer over $26 million in federal, state, and local funds to more than 65 providers of homeless services throughout Baltimore City.
  • The Morgan State University's School of Architecture and Planning (MSU S-AP) [webpage under redesign] nurtures the education of students in architecture, environmental design, landscape architecture, and city and regional planning by giving them opportunities to demonstrate social responsibility and commitment through the advancement of transdisciplinary research in community design and empowerment, green technologies, and issues related to urban revitalization and under-represented groups. 
  • Baltimore Homeless Youth Initiative (BHYI) was created in response to a need for a comprehensive continuum of housing, resources, services and care for Baltimore's homeless and unstably housed youth and young adults between the ages of 14-24.
  • Johns Hopkins Center for Adolescent Health (CAH) is committed to assisting urban youth in becoming healthy and productive adults. The Center conducts research that identifies the needs and strengths of young people and tests programs designed to promote the health and well-being of young people.