Baltimore Sun, Dec. 16, – Ekton Changes its Attitude About the Homeless
People tend to think of homelessness as an urban problem. Perhaps that’s why the town of Elkton, population 14,842, has seen such conflict over the encampments of homeless men and women that have sprung up nearby. From the razing of a homeless encampment in the woods in 2006 that displaced a dozen men and women who had already seen enough displacement to the blocking of a church from operating a day center for the homeless in town in 2007, the Cecil County community appeared determined to push the homeless out of sight and out of mind.
But two legal settlements this month demonstrate that after years of fighting, Elkton has arrived at a more compassionate attitude about the dispossessed in its midst. Early this month, Elkton agreed to pay eight homeless people $7,500 each to compensate them for the destruction of their belongings in the razing of the encampment. And on Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union announced a settlement between the town and the Meeting Ground, a Christian ministry that operates a 95-bed homeless shelter and had been trying for years to open the Mary Randall Center, a 75-person day shelter in town.