JOY Baltimore (JOY) ​​is a grassroots organization whose primary goal is to end youth homelessness within Baltimore, Maryland. Through our Drop-In Center, we offer homeless, displaced, runaway and LGBTQ youth ages 13-24, access to emergency and permanent housing, medical and dental services, community services, vital records, and Maryland State ID.
JOY's mission is to provide vulnerable children safety, support, and stability while we strive to put an end to youth homelessness.​​


JOY strives to protect and serve all youth in all environments regardless of their race, sex, sexuality, and religion. Meeting each unique youth where they are in their lives and assisting them in expanding to become more productive in today's society defeating the odds one youth at a time.

JOY wishes to eliminate to economic barriers faced by homeless youth within our city. Baltimore City has approximately 2,700 homeless, displaced and runaway youth, but this number can be higher. They often are not able to gain employment because of their lack of housing, vital records or Maryland identification. Many of these youth end up sleeping on the streets, “couch surfing”, or falling victim to drugs, prostitution and sex trafficking. This problem is significant because many of these youth end up on drugs, committing crimes, incarcerated, or dead on the streets. They are also faced with constant police harassment and abuse which was made prevalent during the 2015 Baltimore riots.

JOY addresses the lack of adequate, sustainable housing, educational and workforce opportunities for Baltimore’s youth. Through outreach, education, and resources,  JOY's goal is to break and conquer this never-ending cycle of poverty while teaching youth how to be sustainable within their own community and help bring a new economic revival to this area.


JOY's founder and CEO, Lonnie Wayne Walker, is a native of Red Hook Brooklyn NYC.  extensive background in working with youth and young adults. For the past 30 years, Mr. Walker has worked with youth in various avenues. His service and dedication to youth have been one of the most exceptional works of Joy that could ever be given to one person.

Mr. Walker, who has been one step away from Homeless himself, truly understands the needs of the youth in and around the New York and Maryland area. His approach to working with today's youth is to meet them where they are and deal with the immediate need.

In 2016, Mr. Walker saw a pressing need to address the growing homeless youth population in Baltimore City. With his extensive knowledge in youth services, no funding, and his unemployment check, JOY Baltimore was born. Since then, we have helped hundreds of homeless, displaced, runaway, LGBTQ youth, and families in the community find assistance and gain access to the vital services they needed.

Lonnie W. Walker