Sojourner Place at Oliver project, a collaboration between Health Care for the Homeless and EHC, leverages Low-Income Housing Tax Credit equity and loans from Baltimore City and the State of Maryland to construct a 70-unit, approximately 79,800 square foot apartment building in northeast Baltimore. The building includes 37 1-bedroom, 18 2-bedroom and 15 3-bedroom units. Laundry facilities, a computer room and a fitness room are also included on-site.
This $22 million dollar building is financed with Low Income Housing tax credits awarded to the project by the Maryland Department of Housing, loans from the State of Maryland, City of Baltimore and Bank of America. The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation made a grant to the project and Enterprise Community Partners syndicated the tax credits.
Of the 70 units, 35 are reserved for people currently experiencing chronic homelessness. Tenants will be assigned by the city’s coordinated access system. They will receive clinical care and supportive services, embedded within the building, to help maintain a successful transition into a new home. Through these services, we reduce our clients’ risk for costly health crises (e.g. screening for life-threatening diseases, managing hypertension and diabetes), offer treatment for addiction, provide behavioral health care and help with establishing or improving income (through work, entitlements and benefits). Combining housing with health care and supportive services will help these tenants navigate the dramatic change of regaining housing, often after years—if not decades—without a home. With support to navigate this critical period, we expect a high level of tenant retention. In a similar development, Sojourner Place at Argyle—also a partnership with Episcopal Housing Corporation—11 of 12 tenants remain successfully housed after two years with regular care and support.
The other 35 units are made available as affordable housing for individuals and families making at or below 50% of the area median income. This directly addresses the severe shortage of affordable housing in Baltimore. A $2.3 million investment from the Weinberg Foundation helped us close the funding gap for this project and will allow us to more quickly achieve a lien-free building. Without commercial debt on the property, we would then be able to allocate operating revenue to help fund the supportive housing services offered to tenants. This innovative, self-sustaining financial model would be the first of its kind in Maryland and could serve as a model for other cities across the nation.