Through their Priority Markets Program, the Wells Fargo Foundation has awarded $80,000 to St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center for the preservation of affordable rental apartments in the Hampden community of North Baltimore. The award provides funding needed for St. Ambrose to begin a comprehensive renovation of their Union Ave. Apartments. This garden style apartment complex is home to 54 families.
Beyond the replacement of heating and hot water systems throughout the Union Ave. complex within the last five years, only routine maintenance has occurred since the initial renovation in 1996. However, the property needs a substantial renovation to the interior and exterior to assure that it meets the competitive standards of today’s market in a neighborhood that has been trending upward for several years. The planned upgrades include the addition of central air conditioning and removal and replacement of window units. The agency is holding units vacant to enable an in-place rehab. Residents from an entire building will relocate to renovated vacant units allowing for the total renovation of one building at a time.
With a severe lack of affordable housing rentals in Baltimore, the funding from Wells Fargo represents a significant investment in the Hampden community and helps improve the quality of life for the residents of the Union Ave. apartment complex. Union Ave. provides affordable homes for families, which are close to public transportation and schools, in a neighborhood bustling with newer developments. The anticipated start date for the renovation is the summer of 2018 and St. Ambrose is committed to creating a property that demonstrates affordable rental housing can blend into a desired urban aesthetic and be an asset within the community.
On Jan. 29, in the brightly colored auditorium of the Roosevelt Recreation Center, St. Ambrose program directors Bill Rubin and David Sann, presented the renovation plans to a group of 30 Hampden community members and the Hampden Community Council. The directors answered questions, assuring the community that no residents would be displaced and that the renovation plans were designed to keep the construction period short. Overall, there was appreciation for the planned building renovations to improve living conditions for the Union Ave. apartment complex residents. “I’m glad those people are getting nicer homes,” said one participant in the meeting. “And for the rest of us going by it will look good. With a unanimous vote, the council agreed to write a letter of support for the project.
St. Ambrose thanks Wells Fargo and the Hampden Community for their support in creating better housing opportunities in Baltimore.