This article was originally published by the Baltimore Regional Housing Campaign.
Homes for America’s Broadway Homes project, through which single family homes, scattered throughout desirable neighborhoods in the Baltimore region, were purchased to replace demolished public housing, recently won recognition for its innovation. Congratulations to the stellar developers who worked on that project, particularly leaders Trudy McFall and Nancy Rase, and project director Kathy Ebner.
The development, which took over a decade to complete, won the 2012 Innovation Award from the Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers (HAND), which represents non-profit affordable housing developers in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC.
The project, designed as “off-site replacement housing” offers new housing choices for low income families, and complements the “on-site” redevelopment of the former Broadway Homes public housing site (now “Broadway Overlook”). The project’s goal was to offer former Broadway families, and other public housing residents, affordable housing options in diverse neighborhoods with low crime, good schools and public transportation.
Homes for America’s project manager Kathy Ebner hand-picked townhomes and detached homes from Roland Park to Locust Point, Severna Park to Bel Air, Towson to Columbia. The 58 single-family properties, located in Baltimore City and four surrounding counties, were renovated with energy efficiency in mind. To complete the project, Homes for America had to negotiate a streamlined HUD protocol for acquisition of off-site properties.
Both the Broadway Overlook redevelopment in East Baltimore and the regional Homes for America scattered site project were developed as part of a court decree in Thompson v. HUD, a lawsuit brought to remedy the racial segregation caused by public policies that concentrated most of the region’s low income housing in Baltimore’s inner-city and other African American neighborhoods and excluded it from other areas. The housing authority enlisted Homes for America, an Annapolis-based nonprofit housing corporation, to purchase and rehabilitate the 58 units around Baltimore. “This project had unusual origins and legal requirements, involved unique funding and brought together an atypical set of partners,” notes HAND.
Currently, 72 adults and 122 children are living in Broadway Homes units. Residents received pre- and post-move counseling, and were assigned to a case manager. According to HAND, the residents now report that “they are overwhelmingly happy, get along well with neighbors, [and] feel safer and more secure with less stress.”
HAND recognized Broadway Homes as a “one-of-a-kind undertaking in the region,” but BRHC is hopeful Homes for America and the Broadway project have cleared a path for other regional housing initiatives to follow. The full list of winners from its 2012 awards is available here.