The NHP Foundation (NHPF) has completed the rehabilitation of 94 scattered-site single-family affordable rental homes in Hollander Ridge, which spans several “neighborhoods of opportunity” in Baltimore City.
The one- to four-bedroom single-family homes are in areas with thriving and diverse communities, high-performing schools, low crime, low rates of poverty, and with neighborhood amenities, including grocery stores, medical facilities, and community centers.
The approximately $41.4 million Hollander Ridge rehabilitation stems from a decades-old class action lawsuit filed against the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the mayor and City Council of Baltimore, and the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC) on behalf of public housing residents who alleged they were intentionally being segregated in high-poverty areas.
This case was partially resolved in 1996 in a partial consent decree. A trial was held in 2003 in federal court on the portions of the lawsuit not resolved, and, in 2005, a federal court judge issued an opinion holding that HABC and the city were not liable but that HUD was liable for failing to affirmatively further fair housing, said officials.
Although HABC was found not to be liable, the local agency participated in the settlement with HUD and the plaintiffs, which replaced the partial consent decree and included this rehabilitation program. The current HABC administration fulfilled the promise of completing the rehabilitation program.
“The housing at Hollander Ridge extends this promise,” says NHPF vice president Mansur Abdul-Malik, the lead developer. “This rental housing provides opportunity for significant improvement in academic prospects and social mobility for families who formerly did not have access, and will result in children with better educations, higher likelihood of attaining higher education and college degrees leading to higher paying jobs, and an improved quality of life. Children in the next 10 to 15 years are really going to show the impact of Hollander Ridge and its effect on the community.”
The Hollander Ridge housing is representative of Baltimore’s architectural diversity, including townhomes, single-family detached, and semi-detached homes. They are spread across several neighborhoods and are grouped into six sections based on their geographical location. As part of the development, each home underwent renovations to upgrade both the exterior and interior of the buildings, as well as the creation of five units that are 100% accessible and compliant with the American with Disabilities Act.
“Scattered-site housing as an asset class presents unique challenges and benefits to a developer,” added NHPF president and CEO Richard F. Burns. “This type of housing is more expensive than a multifamily building renovation. However, it is the most equitable form of affordable housing that can be built. There is no concentration of poverty since units are scattered. The affordable units are seamlessly integrated making for a diverse socioeconomic community, and residents have the ability to enjoy homeownership-style amenities.”
Those living in Hollander Ridge will also benefit from individualized coaching programs offered by NHPF’s resident services subsidiary, Operation Pathways. “A resident services coordinator will coach families in achieving goals they set for themselves,” said Ken White, executive director of Operation Pathways. “This strengths-based, resident-centered approach meets residents and families where they are and provides them resources, strategies, and motivation to assist them in defining their own success. As many Hollander Ridge residents will be caring for single-family homes for the first time, the service coordinator will develop resources and provide training and assistance as needed.”
Primary funding for this work came from am approximately $18 million federal HOPE VI grant.
Additional funding included a $6.2 million Freddie Mac permanent loan with the Maryland Community Development Administration as bond issuer, a $19.9 million construction loan from Citi Community Capital, $10.7 million in low-income housing tax credit equity from PNC, a $9.4 million seller note and $9.6 million soft loan from HABC, $2.5 million in Rental Housing Works funding and $1.5 million in Partnership Rental funding from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, and $1.4 million in deferred developer fees from NHPF and HABC.
“Financing the Hollander Ridge project would have been impossible without the low-income tax credit program,” added Janet Abrahams, HABC president and CEO. “It allowed us together with NHPF to leverage these tax credits with other financing to be able to rehabilitate all 94 properties and allow our residents to move into newly renovated homes.”