[Hpn] Homeless to dismantle 'tent city' next to Baltimore Catholic parish

William C. Tinker wtinker@verizon.net
Tue, 01 Jan 2008 14:05:43 -0500


January 1, 2008

Homeless to dismantle 'tent city' next to Baltimore Catholic parish

BALTIMORE (CNS): As 2008 begins, the pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in 
Baltimore is ordering all makeshift tents used by the homeless in the park 
adjacent to the church to come down. It's not a new order by any means.

It's one that Father Richard T. Lawrence has been enforcing for years. Every 
January Father Lawrence tells the occupants of the tents made of tarps, 
blankets and discarded furniture to dismantle the do-it-yourself shelters. 
But by the next Christmas, the land next to the downtown church is once 
again littered with improvised campsites, he said.

However, Father Lawrence waits until after the holidays to enforce the 
"no-tent" rule on the church property that some of Baltimore's homeless 
refer to as "tent city" or "bum park." "I'm not the Grinch," he said. "I'm 
not going to force the tents to come down until January."

The priest doesn't want to force the homeless away from the park. He wants 
to discourage drug dealing and prostitution that is believed to be taking 
place inside some of those tents