Building and Strengthening Neighborhoods and People

Sponsor Spotlight: The Beliveau Group

The GHCC Blog Team caught up with Tina Beliveau, owner and team leader of The Beliveau Group (and one of our preferred realtors) to discuss city living, the importance of community centers, and GHCC’s 1st Annual Oktoberfest Fundraiser at Peabody Heights Brewery! 

Beliveau

Can you tell us a bit about The Beliveau Group?

The Beliveau Group is a residential real estate team. We help people buy and sell homes throughout Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and the surrounding counties. We are a team of specialists with over 25 years of combined experience in the industry. Our motto is “Creating a First Class Real Estate Experience”. We believe that what matters most in our business is elite customer service and life-long relationships. We are in the top 1% of real estate agents, locally and nationally. We put a high value on authentic relationships with our clients and the people we talk with on a daily basis.

What do you love most about working in Baltimore?

Where to begin! As real estate professionals, we appreciate the diverse choices of neighborhoods and lifestyles in Baltimore, from the most urban downtown neighborhoods to the more suburban feeling areas with many single family homes like Roland Park. There is something for everyone here. We really enjoy knowing the nooks and crannies of the entire city and helping people discover the lesser-known options they might have never been exposed to otherwise.

Why did you choose to sponsor the 1st Annual Oktoberfest Fundraiser for the 29th Street Community Center?

Being of service in our community as much as possible is a key element of our philosophy and goals. We strive to create opportunities for our team members, our clients, and the community at large in as many ways as we possibly can. We have enjoyed a wonderful relationship with Greater Homewood Community Corporation, and we really value their mission of strengthening north/central Baltimore neighborhoods. The 29th St Community Center is a natural extension of that relationship and we are thrilled to be supportive in as many ways as we can!

DSC_0040

The 1st Annual Oktoberfest Fundraiser to support the 29th Street Community Center at Peabody Heights Brewery.

From the perspective of a realtor, why are community centers important to potential home buyers?

When someone buys a home, the first and most important step is for them to sit down with us and have a detailed consultation on their home buying needs, budget and goals. During that meeting, there are certain prevalent themes that come up almost every time, and one of those is neighborhood quality. A strong community center is crucial for many people and we are excited to be able to help our clients get connected with these types of resources when they do move into their new home. We truly enjoy helping people network and get connected to resources that are helpful to them, whether it’s a community center, a babysitter, or a great contractor! We are pleased to be able to connect our clients to GHCC and the 29th Street Community Center and the programs it offers.

Have you ever utilized the 29th Street Community Center personally? Has The Beliveau Group?

We have not yet utilized the Community Center, but we plan to soon!

Buying a home in Baltimore is more affordable than you might think! GHCC’s Healthy Neighborhoods program can help by providing low-interest loans and incentives for buying and renovating homes on target blocks in north central Baltimore. To learn more about this program and opportunities to work with The Beliveau Group please contact Andre Stone at 410-261-3511 or astone@strongcitybaltimore.org.  

 


Neighborhood Institute Sponsor Spotlight: Healthy Neighborhoods

HNBarbara Aylesworth is the Senior Programs Officer at Healthy Neighborhoods 

Tell us a bit about Healthy Neighborhoods, how long has the program been around and when did it come to Baltimore?

Healthy Neighborhoods has been operating in Baltimore since around 2000, although the original idea was established in Battle Creek, Michigan. The program started as a small initiative, and is now supporting 14 community based organizations working in over 40 Baltimore neighborhoods. We work in what we would describe as strong, but undervalued neighborhoods – places with solid assets where resident engagement and modest investment yield big results. We provide grants for neighborhood organizing and marketing and operate a 60 million loan fund for purchase and renovation of homes and home improvements.

What are “target blocks” and what communities in Greater Homewood is Healthy Neighborhoods working in?

We cover a lot of territory in Greater Homewood.  Waverly, Better-Waverly, Ednor Gardens-Lakeside, Oakenshawe, Abell, Harwood, Old Goucher, Remington, Barclay, and Charles Village. We target blocks based upon a building from strength strategy. We work first on the blocks with the best home values and active residents to create those marketable “postcard blocks” and build out from there. A list of the target blocks can be found on our website www.healthyneighborhoods.org.

How does Healthy Neighborhoods work in collaboration with GHCC?

GHCC is an excellent partner for the delivery of Healthy Neighborhood resources. IMG_0763GHCC has generated millions of dollars of Healthy Neighborhoods loans and matching grants.  Among their numerous  neighborhood projects are painted ladies and mosaic number plaques in Harwood, and improvements to the playground at Margaret Brent Elementary School.  Their marketing of neighborhoods and schools has really made a difference, too.

Why do you think it is important to support the Neighborhood Institute?

The Neighborhood Institute provides great information sharing and networking among community members looking for positive change. It brings in good speakers on big picture topics and also provides positive peer learning experiences.

What is the biggest piece of advice you would offer to someone looking to become a first time home owner?

Two pieces of advice: first, meet with a housing counselor to find out if you are ready to buy.  Second, choose a home based on your needs and desires, not just based on how many incentives you can patch together.

How can we get more information, and who should someone reach out to if they are interested in taking advantage of they are interested in participating in the program?

Visit the Healthy Neighborhoods website at (http://www.healthyneighborhoods.org/). Also, Andre Stone from GHCC is a great resource if you are located in the Greater Homewood area.


2700 Hampden Avenue gets a makeover

Last weekend, over 20 neighbors on the 2700 block of Hampden Avenue in Remington came together for a community work day. The objective? To enhance curb appeal and strengthen the block where they live.

2700 Hampden Block Project

In less than two hours, this block was transformed into a lush and vibrant space where parents feel more comfortable letting their children play. We planted nine trees and installed new porch lights on five houses. In addition, eight homeowners will receive new stained glass address plaques, courtesy of Wholly Terra in Hampden.

Earlier this year, GHCC met with residents to determine their vision for what this block could look like. Once the desired improvements were decided on, GHCC staff applied for and received a grant of $2,500 from Healthy Neighborhoods to help bring the project to fruition (2700 Hampden residents are contributing an average of $50 apiece of their own funds).

We invite you to come check out the new and improved 2700 block of Hampden Avenue. It’s a great example of the kind of collaborative efforts that strengthen neighborhoods block by block to enhance the overall quality of life in Baltimore.


Painted purple in Charles Village

Tara Tosti was one of 13 winners in this year’s Painted Ladies of Charles Village House Painting Contest. Sponsored by the Charles Village Community Foundation, the contest is open to residents, landlords, and business owners who embellish their properties in the famous Painted Ladies tradition – with three or more typically vibrant colors.

photo-003

GHCC supported the contest by securing Healthy Neighborhoods grant funding to help cover the cost of paint and supplies for contestants living on target blocks. “GHCC really stepped in at the perfect moment,” says Tara. “I had literally commented to my mother that the exterior of the house needed to be repainted and later that night Hannah Gardi (GHCC’s MSW Intern) stopped by and told us about the grant! I had no idea there were grants like that available and was really grateful she helped us get one to paint the exterior. Without that money, I would have still painted, but I wouldn’t have gotten as involved in doing all the colors or painting the more hard to reach areas. The grant freed us up to think creatively and not just how to get it done in the most inexpensive way.”

7NG9RYIC-001

As you can see in the picture above, Tara’s house was mostly brown with a bit of grey and red before she dramatically transformed it with purple, pink, and blue. Aside from these fantastic results of her painting, Tara really enjoyed that the contest gave her an opportunity to connect with neighbors.

“There were at least four houses on the block that participated, so we were all outside every weekend. If one of us needed something, the others tried to help, and we all helped choose colors and color placement. The project gave a topic of interest everyone shared, so some neighbors that I had only had the opportunity to say ‘Hi’ to before I was able to learn more about and chat with. When everyone is outside working towards a common goal, it seems to really put everyone in a good mood and want to talk.”

What’s more, Tara is now inspired to become more involved in strengthening her block. She says, “I have always wanted to do more but felt others may not have. But now I know there is a desire by many on the block to make it look nicer.”