Catalyst Magazine
A mural in Druid Heights
A mural in Druid Heights pays homage to the neighborhood’s history.

Opening Doors: Live Near Your Work Program Adds Two Neighborhoods with Historical Significance

The University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) Live Near Your Work (LNYW) Program has put out the welcome mat for two new neighborhoods: Druid Heights and Heritage Crossing. 

The program, now in Phase 2, offers UMB employees assistance with down payments and closing costs on newly purchased homes in designated areas. UMB contributes $16,000 per eligible participant as a commitment to its surrounding communities, while the city of Baltimore will offer a matching grant of up to $2,500 for those who are eligible. 

Emily Winkler, MS, benefits manager, Human Resources, and LNYW Program coordinator, said the two new historic neighborhoods, which are walkable and close to campus, meet the mission of the program. 

“We decided to expand based mainly on interest on campus. We wanted to offer more to our employees,” she said. 

(Learn more about the LNYW program.) 

“We decided to expand based mainly on interest on campus. We wanted to offer more to our employees.”

– Emily Winkler, Live Near Your Work Program coordinator

To be eligible, you must be a regular full- or part-time (50 percent FTE or more) faculty, staff, or postdoctoral fellow employee in good standing. Participants must contribute a minimum of $1,000 toward the down payment, prove creditworthiness, and complete a homeownership counseling program. 

The other seven neighborhoods are Barre Circle, Franklin Square, Hollins Market, Mount Clare, Pigtown/Washington Village, Poppleton, and Union Square.

Here’s a look at the two communities added to the list of targeted neighborhoods: 

Druid Heights 

The residential neighborhood of Druid Heights has a rich history. 

The community, on the National Register of Historic Places, boasts large, three-story Victorian-style rowhomes that have up to five bedrooms. The median home purchase price is $29,000, according to Live Baltimore, with estimated mortgages of $198. Almost 30 percent of residents in the community own their homes. 

Druid Heights is walkable and close to Druid Hill Park. It is commuter-friendly with easy access to Metro stations and Pennsylvania Station. 

The neighborhood is a cultural and arts treasure as well with its proximity to Pennsylvania Avenue. It was once home to jazz legend Cab Calloway, and there are plans to create a 2.7-acre park named Druid Heights Cab Calloway Legends Square. Other famous former residents include Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and legendary singer Billie Holiday. 

The nonprofit Druid Heights Community Development Corporation (DHCDC) has been working in the community since 1990. Its mission is to encourage and promote community self-empowerment through the development of economic, educational, employment, and affordable housing opportunities.  

“Homeowners in the community feel that they are in a place where there is great community pride, unity amongst the residents, and an intentional plan to build and restore affordable high-quality housing,” DHCDC said. 

Heritage Crossing 

Nestled on 32 acres, Heritage Crossing is a mixed-income townhouse development that was completed in 2003. The family- and senior-friendly neighborhood boasts a historic gazebo as its community gathering place. 

The suburban-like community is walkable with easy access to the UMB schools and downtown locations such as the Inner Harbor, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and M&T Bank Stadium. 

The neighborhood features 260 attached and semi-detached townhomes and apartments. The median home purchase price is $144,500, according to Live Baltimore, with an estimated mortgage of $986. Thirty-six percent of residents own their homes. 

The centerpiece of the neighborhood is its historic gazebo located in Perkins Spring Square Park. The octagonal, cast-iron gazebo was built in 1871 as a spring shelter. The gazebo is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. 

The neighborhood’s community group, Heritage Crossing Residents Association (HCRA), said that the LNYW program will be a boon to stabilizing homeownership in the community. 

“Participation in the UMB LNYW program will give HCRA and the surrounding community an opportunity to have a meaningful shot at the American Dream for generations to come,” HCRA said. 

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Jen Badie

Jen Badie is the managing editor in the Office of Communications and Public Affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

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