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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.

Davena Jefferson describes a life of substance abuse problems, living on and off with family members and in local shelters and even a stint in jail before she decided to turn her life around.rsz_davena_jefferson

She took the first step in 2004 by signing up on Baltimore City’s public housing wait list.

Two years later she moved into Hollins House with nothing but patio furniture and hope for a new independence and stability.

Over the last few years, Jefferson, a 10-year resident of Hollins house, has  served on Housing Authority of Baltimore City’s (HABC) Resident Advisory Board (RAB) — a role in which she has a say in decisions made regarding public housing in the city and is a voice for other residents. She was especially involved in the RAB after HABC announced its partnership with CPDC to redevelop Hollins.

When the redevelopment was initially announced, Jefferson said RAB delegates were reassured residents would not lose their apartments. But she says among most other residents (those not directly involved in the process) that there was widespread skepticism that people might be pushed out of their homes.

“I thought CPDC’s plans here were all talk at first,” Jefferson said. “But now I see the changes.”

As an active participant in her community, Davena says she wishes more residents would “get out of their apartments, get to know their neighbors and participate in activities.” She is hopeful that the new programs and services CPDC is offering will help.

Among those programs are 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. Partners facilitating  services include University of Maryland Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University and the Virginia Health Quality Center.

Read Part I, a story from Hollins House resident Johnny Anthony: https://www.cpdc.org/hollins-house-residents-take-the-lead-part-i/

Learn more about CPDC’s community development work in Baltimore: https://www.cpdc.org/in-west-baltimore-partnerships-fuel-new-health-wellness-opportunity-for-residents/

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