Baltimore Mayor Awards $3.3 Million in Grants for Neighborhood Revitalization

Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young and the city’s Department of Housing and Community Development announced they were awarding $3.3 million in grants to revitalize neighborhoods around the city.

Twenty-five winning recipients under the Community Catalyst Grants (CCG) Program will use the grants to complete capital projects, including those dealing with affordable housing and how to flip homes. The CCG Program previously awarded $2 million of operating funds to local organizations in March.

The winning projects will focus on promoting “transformational, neighborhood led investments that significantly remove blighting influences, create a diversity of uses, and foster neighborhood-owned and led enterprises,” Young’s office told The Baltimore Sun.

The five largest grants awarded on September 26 were $200,000 or more, according to The Baltimore Sun.

The People’s Homesteading Group was granted $200,000 to help rehabilitate nine deteriorated and vacant houses. The organization, which helps low-income Baltimore residents rehabilitate and buy homes, will use the grant to prepare the homes for future residents. Black Women Build - Baltimore received $204,750 from the Housing department, its second Community Catalyst Grant this year. The group announced that the grant will be used for acquisition, stabilization of properties, and materials. According to The Baltimore Sun, Black Women Build - Baltimore will train Black women to rehabilitate five houses to sell at affordable rates.

Civic Works, recipient of a $225,000 grant, will provide low-income, older-adult homeowners in Baltimore with emergency home repairs. The non-profit offers job training, skills development, and community service to the city’s residents.

Strong City Baltimore was granted the second-highest award of $250,000 to assist with the organization’s move to and expansion of operations at the Hoen Lithograph Building. The largest grant of $300,000 was awarded to BRIDGES to build a mixed-income project that offers affordable housing.

The Community Catalyst Grants is only one of the ways Baltimore is attempting to revitalize the city. In September, city officials announced that the city had chosen a national affordable housing non-profit to redevelop 17 acres in the heart of the northwest neighborhood of Park Heights, The Baltimore Sun reported.

NHP Foundation, Inc. will invest more than $100 million in public and private funds to create 210 multi-family, multi-income housing units on Park Heights Avenue. The team will also build 78 single-family, detached homes. NHP will partner up with two Baltimore-based real estate developers: Henson Development Co., led by former Commissioner of the Department of Housing and Community Development Dan Henson, and Marenberg Enterprises Inc., led by Sandy Marenberg.

“In Baltimore, we are advancing a community development platform that is committed to increasing equity throughout Baltimore City neighborhoods,” Mayor Young said at the time. “Revitalization touches all parts of Baltimore.”

Young said NHP conducted an impact study that predicted the project would generate $47 million in labor income, $130 million in economic output, and produce more than 800 jobs for Baltimore residents, including 360 jobs in construction and redevelopment. NHP’s chief operating officer Stephen M Green noted that 35 percent of the employees in the project will consist of minorities and women.

Green said the organization was “thrilled” to be back in Baltimore on another project. “It is an area that has been dis-invested and we look forward to bringing a large investment.”

Green said that NHP will begin applying for state and local funding sources in 2020 to help pay for the project. The organization will also apply for state subsidies through a low-income housing tax credit program, The Baltimore Sun reported.

City officials told the newspaper that the project will require public subsidies to pay for public infrastructure and affordable housing. Construction on the project is expected to begin in 2021 and finish within three to five years.

City Council President Brandon Scott celebrated the project, stating that it will revitalize an area he grew up in as a child. He said that the project will replace streets where he said he saw “negative things happening — people dying, shooting drugs, bodies being left in vacant housing. I see it coming full circle today.”

The Baltimore Sun noted that Park Heights was a prosperous “streetcar suburb” that saw the beginning of its decline during the 1960s. Now, the median household income in the neighborhood is about $7,000 lower than in the rest of Baltimore.

About the Author

Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer forThe North Star. She has published in various publications, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHSJane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.