This is the story of a struggling neighborhood embracing a second chance. It is an example of responsible redevelopment at its finest. It is a nine-year journey spearheaded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and filled with relocations, dramatic transformations and investments in people, buildings and futures. This is the story of East Baltimore.
Introducing the East Baltimore Revitalization Initiative
Findings & Stats
East Baltimore, Circa 2000
Census data painted a dismal before picture of East Baltimore, Maryland. It was a community riddled with high rates of crime, vacancy and unemployment. It was also the city’s second poorest neighborhood with a median household income of just $14,900.
East Baltimore Development Incorporated (EBDI), the nonprofit tasked with revitalizing East Baltimore, focused on increasing economic and social opportunities for the neighborhood, including those families impacted by relocation.
The initiative has lived up to its promise of supporting the career development of those in the project area. Currently, more than 400 residents are active in the initiative’s workforce pipeline. In addition, EBDI has awarded some $181.7 million in contracts — $67.2 million of which have gone to minorities, women and local businesses.
Access to Aid
Thanks to the work of EBDI relocation staff, the number of renters receiving a Section 8 voucher jumped more than five-fold — from just 32 to 166 — over a six-year period.
EBDI identified eight core principles to help guide their work. These include: Ensuring that a child’s education is only minimally disrupted by relocation; incorporating the views and preferences of residents in the community’s relocation plan; and helping families avoid predatory lending practices.
A Catalyst for Change
The initiative’s positive impact rippled beyond East Baltimore’s borders. Neighboring communities, for example, benefitted from the arrival of an $18 million business headquarters and plans for a new 40-unit residential development.
Another impressive project statistic: Relocated homeowners from East Baltimore saw the value of their homes jump four- to five-fold.
Alternatives to Relocating
Residents who did not have to (and want to) relocate could utilize one of two innovative programs. The Home Repair program offered homeowners grant money to make their residences more safe, functional, attractive and valuable. The House for a House program gave residents the option of using relocation expenses to trade their home for a renovated, energy-efficient option within the project area.
Statements & Quotations
From the very beginning, it was important to the Casey Foundation that residents be included in the plans for the revitalization efforts.
In light of the very low incomes and high jobless rates in the project area and a request from residents for assistance, EBDI has provided extensive assistance to help residents find employment and advance into better paying jobs.
Despite being angry and distrustful at the start of the project, most households had positive relocation experiences.