BALTIMORE CITY ARCHIVES
(Baltimore Emergency Relief Commission / Citizens Emergency Relief Committee)
In early 1931 W. Frank Roberts, President of the Baltimore Chamber of Commerce, called a meeting to discuss the growing unemployment crisis in the city and the unavailablity of funds to relieve this problem. The meeting was attended by the mayor, police commissioner, and representatives of the state government, the Community Fund of Baltimore, the Red Cross, the Associated Jewish Charities, and the Bureau of Catholic Charities. An executive committee was established for raising funds, to coordinate the activities of the various charity agencies, and to be responsible for the disbursement of funds. Under the title of the Citizens Emergency Relief Committee, this body functioned in an advisory and coordinating manner with the traditional charity organizations.
By September 1933 it was evident that the private agenicies were no longer equipped to deal with the deteriorating unemployment situation, and the Baltimore Emergency Relief Commission was formed, although the Citizens Emergency Relief Commission remained in existence. BERC administered the distribution of federal funds under the Federal Emergency Relief Administration and was a subsidy of the Maryland Emergency Relief Administration.
The Baltimore Emergency Relief Commission was ended in October 1936 because of the discontinuance of federal funds and the failure of the state to meet the financial deficiency. Much of its work was taken over by the new Works Progress Administration. The Citizens Emergency Relief Commission remained in existence until at least 1941, coordinating the activities of the various charity organizations.