As many experts are quick to point out, community building is a long process. When we hear about success stories from around the country it is not unusual to discover that these efforts began many years ago. Even in our own City many initiatives launched decades ago are just coming to fruition today. In that light, HEBCAC’s achievements over the relatively short period our existence are truly remarkable. Since becoming operational in 1995 some of these historical and current highlights include:
- Provided job placement services and transportation to those jobs to over 900 community residents. Through collaborations with our other major community partners—over 1,400 additional East Baltimore residents have received employment training and have been placed in good, family-sustaining jobs.
- Rehabbed fifty houses for community residents in the Middle East and Oliver communities.
- Acquired several vacant industrial buildings and renovated the former Diamond Press Building at Wolfe and Preston Streets. Subsequently we turned our attention to the 901 N Milton Ave. building and have completed a $10 million renovation of this former apparel plant. We are transforming these buildings from empty shells into community assets that house other non-profits such as the Living Classrooms Foundation, The Caroline Center, Moveable Feast, The Black Educational Aids Project, Episcopal Community Services of Maryland, The Board of Child Care of Maryland, and Baltimore City Community College as well as our own programs.
- Founded the HEBCAC Youth Opportunities Center—a program that provides education, training and job placement services to over 2,000 young adults, giving them the chance to launch new careers and to pursue a number of educational opportunities.
- Provided substance abuse counseling throughout the night seven days a week to people in the community who are struggling to overcome drug addiction. Since 2000 we have helped thousands of residents at our substance abuse recovery center--Dee’s Place. And then helping to launch Threshold to Recovery, the City-wide initiative to bring similar services throughout Baltimore.
- Planted 400 trees, distributed over 2,000 potted shrubs, constructed 15 community parks, playgrounds, and gardens, and commissioned six murals as community improvement projects throughout the area.
- Initiated a retail revitalization program that is making the East Monument Street business district a safer, cleaner, and more attractive place to shop. In the first four years of this program over $3 million in new public and private dollars have been invested in new and improved stores on Monument Street.
- Worked with community organizations, Baltimore City Police Department, the US Attorney, and the State’s Attorney to bring nearly $2 million federal dollars to support law enforcement and community policing programs to our community through the Weed and Seed program. Violent crime over the past several years has dropped by over 40%--and it continues to decrease
- Established the East Baltimore Technology Resource Center (EBTRC), where 1,500 donated computers are refurbished annually and placed in Maryland public schools. We’re also able to provide low-cost computers to residents and other no-profits as well as training and other services at EBTRC. In early 2008, we launched the ReBoot Computer Store on East Monument Street to provide low cost computers and technology to community residents.
- Helped organize and fund (or raised funding for) dozens of community-led programs, neighborhood events, and other grassroots initiatives. Through our Family Preservation Initiative we have developed resources totaling $4.4 million to support critical social services in the community