Our neighborhood-based activities strengthen communities and schools so that all residents are engaged in improving neighborhood quality of life.
A strong neighborhood must include engaged residents who work together to tackle tough issues, from crime to trash dumping to a lack of jobs. We connect neighborhoods to citywide resources and larger coalitions to build power and leverage resources.
Successful neighborhoods need successful schools, and Strong City believes every child in Baltimore deserves to attend an excellent school. Quality schools are not only good for kids but also help to build strong neighborhoods that families want to live in.
Strong City is a longtime partner to three public Community Schools: Margaret Brent Elementary/Middle, Guilford Elementary/Middle, and Govans Elementary. Strong City is the nonprofit coordinating agency at Margaret Brent and Guilford Elementary/Middle schools, and a major partner at Govans Elementary. Strong City uses the nationally recognized Community School model, in which schools are neighborhood hubs, bringing educators, families, and community partners together to offer a range of opportunities, supports, and services to children, youth as well as their families and community.
Our staff collaborates with over 80 partners including the Johns Hopkins University, Goucher College, MICA, Towson University, and Loyola University to activate volunteers, engage parents and neighborhood residents, and leverage support services, such as on-site food pantries, after-school programming, and academic support.
Strong City annually leverages more than $1.5 million in resources to strengthen student success at Community Schools.
Our relentless advocacy resulted in construction of a brand new Waverly Elementary/Middle School building. This 10 year campaign informed citywide advocacy: as a founding member of the Baltimore Education Coalition (BEC), we helped build a grassroots movement for equitable finding and policies for Baltimore City students. Involving hundreds of parents, teachers, students and community members, BEC’s grassroots campaign and policy advocacy helped to bring about a $1 billion investment in city public schools buildings and continues to advocate for adequate funding including operational and facilities funds as well for full day pre-K, Community Schools and after school programs needed in a city with concentrated poverty.
Strong City focuses efforts on helping parents organize effective parent groups and connect to their children’s learning. We work closely with parents at each of our schools to support strong parent-teacher organizations, participation in School Family Councils, parent-teacher conferences and more. We also collaborate with groups like The Village Parents to support their efforts in making greater Charles Village a family-friendly neighborhood with great activities for families and great schools.
Buying a home in Baltimore is more affordable than you might think. With relatively low housing prices and a number of available incentives, buying a house can be much cheaper than renting, help build wealth, and promote long-term stability in our city’s neighborhoods. Strong City Baltimore’s Healthy Neighborhoods program can help by providing low-interest loans and incentives for buying and renovating homes on target blocks in Greater Homewood.
Healthy Neighborhoods is a citywide initiative that helps strong but undervalued Baltimore neighborhoods increase home values, market their communities, create high standards for property improvements, and forge strong connections among neighbors.
Our Healthy Neighborhoods are home to strong public schools. In Greater Homewood, these neighborhoods are: Barclay-Old Goucher, Charles Village, Ednor Gardens, Remington and Waverly Village (click on images for larger versions).
Since 2005, our Healthy Neighborhoods program has generated over $11 million in investments in these four target areas by:
- Providing low-interest loans to help over 50 families buy and renovate homes
- Administering grants for dozens of small-scale block beautification projects like tree planting, number plaques, shutters, porch lighting and house painting
- Investing in large neighborhood-scale projects like parks, playgrounds and community gateway signage
There are three different loan programs available with a number of incentives to help home buyers and homeowners make improvements to their properties and create lasting value in their neighborhoods:
Purchase/Rehab Loan and Refinance/Rehab Loan
- Available on the 139 designated Target Blocks
- Borrow up to 110% of the post-renovation value
- Pay as little at 3% down
- No mortgage insurance (PMI)
- Free architectural consultation
Home Improvement Loan
- Available for any property; not limited to Target Blocks
- Borrow between $5,000 and $20,000
- Free architectural consultation
- Eligible for $10,000 Matching Grant
All recipients of Healthy Neighborhoods loans may be eligible for a Matching Grant. Qualified buyers will receive up to $10,000 to complete a renovation project.
Johns Hopkins University’s Live Near Your Work program offers down payment assistance grants of up to $17,000 for eligible employees to purchase homes near one of the University’s campuses.
Live Baltimore offers up to $5,000 in down payment assistance for attending one of its Buying into Baltimore home buying fairs.
The Community Development Block Grant program offers $5,000 in down payment assistance for first-time home buyers.
The City’s Vacants to Value program offers $10,000 grants to home buyers purchasing formerly vacant homes.
Many of these incentive programs can be combined so that your monthly payments will be lower than you ever thought possible!
York Road Partnership
Strong City supports the communities along the York Road Corridor and the efforts of the York Road Partnership (YRP), who works to promote the vitality of Baltimore’s York Road community. Strong City recognizes the race and income divide represented by York Road and has committed the following resources to strengthen York Road neighborhoods
- Full-time Community Builder working to strengthen community associations and block captain networks
- Involve many more community members in the work of YRP action committees
- Staff time to the YRP Leadership committee and the Ad-Hoc Liquor Committee
- Additional resources to address blighted properties
Get in Touch
Contact our staff via phone or email.