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Navigating more of the Maryland Maze: Affordable Housing

February 11, 2021 at 11 A.M. Eastern Time

Just a quick update. Because of a sudden move at the end of January, I'm again trying to find an affordable living arrangement. Governor Larry Hogan signed an order preventing evictions during the Coronavirus pandemic, yet this did not stop my landlord from turning off heating, water, and electricity at the house I was renting a room at. Airbnb found in my favor and partially processed a refund.

To provide some background: I was billed out of my family's home in Baltimore City starting in 2016-2017. After moving and then renting in the county, I was left without options when the home became abusive and a Baltimore County court officer wouldn't let me with my diabetic supplies and water into my eviction hearing.

As that Baltimore County courthouse was inaccessible, I went homeless with my belongings into B.W.I. Airport near Christmas of 2018. Following more than one month of being a customer of that airport, I was improperly charged on February 18, 2019 (Presidents' Day) with "using BWI Airport in lieu of a hotel/motel", and I was issued a notice to appear in Anne Arundel County court. I asked for and received a public defender so I could defend my point-of-view, however the State of Maryland defense lost this case because their attorney did not appear and the trial did not happen. The state court record hides this result behind a suspicious-sounding Latin term "nolle prosequi", which amounts to "prosecution failed".

(Note: I was provided with an option to expunge my record of the B.W.I. case and I declined the request. After the incident, it is my note that subsequent one-hour visits over the course of the next year showed much less homeless people. It may indicate that problems are being solved around the autistic while not directly benefitting those with autism who find the problems. I do not have access to whatever MdTA's police statistics would be. Disclaimer: I was a job applicant at some of B.W.I. Airport's employers during the period of homelessness stated, and I have a clean record.)

I was placed into the State of Maryland's assisted living housing, and the provider did not staff medical professionals to help with health troubles I was experiencing. I had to wait about a year there after applying for disability benefits, until approval for Social Security in May of 2020 empowered me to manage my own housing situation as I always have done.

Now that I am attempting to get housing via the State and the City, it is disheartening to see how the Maryland State and Baltimore City governments are still, today, in 2021, failing to address the problems facing those facing homelessness. Coronavirus protocol is no excuse for Housing Authorities to close. As for my experience with H.U.D. under superstar surgeon Ben Carson, it was a disgraceful maze of bureaucracy, acronyms, phone numbers, dead-end calls, and web links. (At what point does it count as additional mental trauma?)

My position on this problem has been clear since the beginning. I should not need to earn a degree from Johns Hopkins to find affordable housing with my disability, and the U.S. Government has no right to deepen a medical crisis by underserving its citizens to the point that they are overburdened into dependence. Those with autism such as myself should not be used as chess pieces on a calendar of broken promises. After two weeks of trying to get rent subsidized housing with over 40 telephone calls and pages of non-responsive or confusing referral service phone numbers provided to me, I cannot afford all of these dead-ends.

Douglas visiting B.W.I. Airport while homeless in early 2019 Douglas Winslow's employment applications to the State of Maryland from 2013-2020 Douglas in September 2019 next to a 'Wings for Autism' sign near a BWI security office Maryland M.T.A. Light Rail tracks leading northbound from BWI Airport to Baltimore City Web Site Operator and Governor Lawrence Hogan

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