Fifteen years ago local funders and civic leaders had an audacious idea that still holds true today. We can make a strategic difference in Baltimore neighborhoods by bringing together local and national foundations, banks, corporate giving programs, and state and local government to work in collaboration to address critical issues, test new ideas and jointly fund promising initiatives. At the core is a belief in building on a neighborhood’s existing assets, facilitating resident engagement and community action, working across sectors and providing long-term support. Now with over $7.3 million invested, the Baltimore Neighborhood Collaborative continues to bring a diverse group together to advance neighborhood revitalization, promote transit-centered community development, prevent foreclosures and build local non-profit capacity.
Recognizing the solutions are complex, one of the issues we are tackling today along with our partners in the Baltimore Homeownership Preservation Coalition is how best to intervene earlier in the foreclosure process. For the health of our city neighborhoods, we recognize the need to help people stay in their homes, whether homeowners or renters. Strategies include: using neighborhood data to understand trends and target outreach so residents are informed about where they can turn for help; supporting the agencies that are working one-on-one with families facing foreclosure; and working with neighborhoods to reclaim homes that go vacant. We are also exploring options for a capital pool to purchase troubled mortgages to save more homes and prevent further neighborhood decline.
In addition to the impact on individual families, foreclosed properties are a drain on our neighborhood resources, dragging down property values—and this affects us all. Communities are doing their part to make Baltimore neighborhoods strong by engaging in block organizing, neighborhood greening and other revitalization strategies. Through continued collaboration, we will ensure that foreclosures don’t undermine this good work and Baltimore’s future potential!