Charm City Land Trusts Completes Renovation

BALTIMORE, MD – Today, Charm City Land Trusts hosted a virtual ribbon-cutting of the first permanently-affordable community land trust home in McElderry Park, an enormous step forward for community-controlled development and fighting displacement in the neighborhoods where it has historically stewarded green space.

“Land trust housing has proven to be secure, permanently-affordable, and centered within a democratic framework that prioritizes the collective needs and visions of neighborhoods and residents,” said Michael Casiano, President of the Board of Charm City Land Trusts and Patterson Park resident. “In McElderry Park, stabilizing the housing market and safeguarding it from speculative abuses is crucial to preventing involuntary displacement and creating opportunities for legacy residents to stay in the neighborhood. CCLT is ambitious in its scope and is working diligently to develop as many permanently-affordable houses as possible in McElderry Park and surrounding neighborhoods.”

For the past twenty years, Charm City Land Trusts has stewarded green space in East Baltimore, including the Amazing Port Street Commons and a community garden in the Patterson Park neighborhood. “Community-controlled open spaces like the Amazing Port Street Commons are critical gathering places for creating healthy communities,” said Jennifer Kunze, Treasurer of Charm City Land Trusts and McElderry Park resident. “In eight years of gardening in the Amazing Port Street Commons, I’ve seen students develop into leaders, neighbors building new relationships, healthy ecosystems developing to provide habitat for birds and butterflies, and, of course, food grown to feed communities in food deserts. The community it takes to maintain an independent community garden for two decades is exactly the community it takes to shape the community’s development for the coming decades.”

“We are extremely proud of the renovation of our first home. Working with East Baltimore vendors has helped us to not only provide permanently-affordable housing for residents but also economic opportunities for local businesses” said Khalil Uqdah, Vice-President of the Board of Charm City Land Trusts and developer at Charm City Buyers. “By combining several grant and tax credit opportunities with the historic charm of ‘Charm City,’ we’ve created the first of many high-quality affordable homes”.

The renovation of this home comes at a critical time, as the long-term gentrification pressures facing East Baltimore and the recent economic turmoil due to coronavirus combine to put many long-time residents in danger of eviction and displacement. With the renovation of the formerly vacant home at 520 North Luzerne completed, and more permanently-affordable homes soon to come, Charm City Land Trusts is committed to providing housing and homeownership opportunities to a growing number of East Baltimore community members.

“I am grateful that now, neighbors who have invested in making the community stronger have the opportunity to purchase a home. Not only does it bring stability and peace of mind to residents, but it also strengthens the neighborhood and the city,” said Gary Dittman, Board member of Charm City Land Trusts and pastor at Amazing Grace Lutheran Church in McElderry Park. “Housing justice moves us to community-controlled development without displacement.  Permanently affordable housing is necessary for cities to be healthy and thriving.”

Following today’s ribbon cutting, the home is being marketed to individuals and households that apply through Charm City Land Trusts. Information about the homeownership application process, membership in Charm City Land Trusts, and more about our work in East Baltimore is available at www.charmcitylandtrusts.org

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