BALTIMORE — Baltimore officials with plans to clear a homeless encampment are offering up to 40 men and women housing through a new shelter program.

The Baltimore Sun reports the communal living dormitory opened Tuesday and will offer three meals per day, transportation, access to case managers and other services, for up to a year.

Director of the Mayor’s Office of Human Services, Terry Hickey, says the $1.5 million program is meant to eliminate barriers keeping people on the street.

Advocate for the homeless, Jeff Singer, says clearing the encampment will be ineffective, citing examples of cleared camps appearing elsewhere, but feels the risks are forcing officials to act. Hickey says the encampment is being cleared for health and safety concerns.

Residents have less than two weeks to decide about the program.

Information from: The Baltimore Sun,