On January 5, Gov. Larry Hogan announced an almost $700 million plan to demolish thousands of vacant buildings in Baltimore’s poorest neighborhoods and replace them with new developments. Gov. Hogan and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake are working together on the redevelopment plan – Project C.O.R.E.(Creating Opportunities for Renewal and Enterprise) – pledging $94 million over a four year period to demolish 4,000 vacant properties throughout Baltimore.
An additional $600 million in subsidies was pledged to encourage redevelopment. The Maryland Stadium Authority will be overseeing the demolitions. Many of those in the area are rejoicing at the news, excited that Baltimore – the “core” of Maryland according to Hogan – is finally addressing issues that have been overlooked for far too long.
How Will This Plan Affect MBK?
My Brother’s Keeper works a great deal to help the underserved, jobless, homeless and hungry residents in the Baltimore community – especially those in the 21229 neighborhoods – find the help and resources they need to live safe, successful and sustainable lives. Of course, due to increased unemployment and limited opportunities in urban areas, achieving this mission does not come easy.
There is no way to measure the exact impact, if any, that Gov. Hogan’s new initiative will have on My Brother’s Keeper. However, MBK does work closely and effectively with MOED (Mayor’s Office of Employment Development) and hopes to link its guests to jobs created by the planned demolitions. The objective of this partnership is to assist in the preparation and placement of residents from the 21229 communities into jobs, including those available in their neighborhood of Irvington.
Rev. Jamal H Bryant, pastor at the Empowerment Temple in Northwest Baltimore, expressed to The Baltimore Sun that he hopes the initiative will include hiring local people for construction and other jobs associated with the spending – noting that housing is only one piece of the puzzle.
Factors to Consider
The plan seems to be a major response to the death of Freddie Gray last April, which resulted in rioting that shed a light to the entire nation on the conditions of Baltimore’s poorest neighborhoods. The Baltimore Sun reports that in a city populated with more than 662,000 people – there are about 16,000 vacant buildings and 14,000 vacant lots. While most of the community is energized by the introduction of Project C.O.R.E., others are skeptical that the plan is underdeveloped at this point. Ray Kelly, a community builder with the No Boundaries Coalition in Sandtown-Winchester, tells the Baltimore Sun that a strategy needs to be in place to handle unintended consequences of the project – like drug dealers scattering into surrounding neighborhoods. For the full story, click here.
Talk to My Brother’s Keeper About Helping in Baltimore
To learn more about how to help or to find out more about our services including hot meal programs, employment assistance, health services and identifying possible emergency shelter, call MBK today at 410-644-3194. You can also follow our official MBK page on Google+, Pinterest,Twitter, and Facebook, to stay up to date on our center’s progress and upcoming events in the community.