Fire in unlicensed Highlandtown home reveals vulnerabilities for Baltimore’s immigrant communities

Stack of newspapers with Mark Parker campaign Logo and text "Media Coverage"

[Excerpted from WYPR – 88.1 FM Baltimore]

By Emily Hofstaedter Published March 1, 2024 at 6:42 PM EST

Teddy Bears at a makeshift memorial on a Highalndtown Memorial. Photo Credit WYPR & Emily Hofstaedter

“It’s a tight housing market and an expensive one. But there’s some progress happening,” said Parker, the pastor, who is also running for City Council in District 1. As of Friday afternoon, there were two families looking for more semi-permanent housing.

The advocates working in Highlandtown agree that the resources for Spanish-speaking communities have improved dramatically over the years. Parker said that it was critical to have Spanish-speaking first responders on hand during Tuesday’s fire.

Yet, it isn’t just the immigrant-focused areas of Highlandtown and Patterson Park that need those resources, said Barrios, who hopes to see resources become more available throughout the city where there are Spanish speakers.

Financial donations for the fire victims can be made through Breath of God Lutheran Church. Those can go towards helping the displaced families get back on their feet and recover their belongings.

The deceased are being flown back to Guatemala where they will be interred. Funeral arrangements for services in Baltimore are not yet finalized.

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