Hollins House Residents Take the Lead to Keep Their Community Connected
CPDC is in the midst of a $10 million redevelopment of Hollins House, a former public housing community in West Baltimore. The project represents a new way of revitalizing housing that focuses on the health and other needs of tenants. We talked to a few Hollins residents about their experiences so far.
Johnny Anthony lived in a Baltimore City homeless shelter for four years before moving into Hollins House, a community for seniors and disabled individuals, after a two-year wait on the city’s public housing wait list.
While living in the shelter, he volunteered as a computer tech and would spend much of his days helping the shelter’s residents–many struggling with addiction and other issues–use computers at the facility to research support programs and other resources to help them improve their lives.
Upon moving into Hollins House, it’s no surprise that Johnny, a self-proclaimed “people person” did not stop doing his part to help others.
Today, as a 10-year Hollins House resident, Johnny represents fellow tenants on The Housing Authority of Baltimore City’s Resident Advisory Board (RAB) — a role in which he has a say in decisions made regarding public housing in the city and is a voice for other residents.
After a decade living at Hollins, Johnny says he is optimistic about the redevelopment and more importantly, the resources the CPDC team is introducing.
In partnership with the University of Maryland Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University and the Virginia Health Quality Center, CPDC has offered residents critically-needed healthcare services including diabetes and hypertension management programs, health fairs, free exercise program and access to low-cost fresh, local produce at a reduced cost.
“There was nothing here before like what is being offered now,” Johnny said.
“When people live in a better environment they take more pride. The building is beautiful and new. I was awe struck when I saw the new units. It looks entirely different.”
Soon, Johnny will be among the first group of Hollins House residents to move into the newly renovated units; he moves into his new apartment on May 10.