Dear Friend:

As we mentioned, last week, there is a great deal of construction currently underway in our neighborhood – with the school, lab building and new housing underway. This week’s video is about the 25 renovated homes under construction near our office on Chase Street.

Verde Development Group, a local minority-owned business, is the builder of the project. And they have hired workforce pipeline participants from the neighborhood to help get the project done.

In the video, Vernard Wheeler, an East Baltimore resident who worked with our Workforce Advocate Bernard Hutchins, commented on how the economic downturn affected him and the rest of our community:

"I have 20 years experience, but due to the economy work was limited. EBDI opened the door for a better opportunity. Especially for the young kids in the community with nothing to do - complaining there’s no work - EBDI has helped us to change that. We have a better opportunity to feed our families, support ourselves, and to just… give us a little hope again."

Our neighbor Darnell Willis, who worked with Workforce Advocate Darryl Alford and EBDI Business Representative Dan Baldwin, talked about how previously being incarcerated made moving forward very difficult:

"I'd like to thank Mr. Baldwin and EBDI for helping me get this position, so I can start bettering myself and feeding my family. I am an ex-offender, and as you may well know, it's very hard for an ex-offender to get a job due to the economy. With the help of EBDI, I'm using this job to better my skills so I can move forward."

When our project began, 70% of the structures in our neighborhood were vacant – representing a difficult past. Now, some of these formerly vacant buildings are becoming homes that will bring new residents, who will be part of East Baltimore’s future. And these 25 homes, which will soon be for sale, are just a few of the hundreds of housing units that have been built here in recent years.

As always, thank you for reading our email. Please take a moment to watch the video and you’ll have a chance to hear more from our neighbors – and see the inside of these great new homes.

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