Monthly Archives: October 2020

Healthy Neighborhoods

Thank you for the opportunity to share a little about the Healthy Neighborhoods program.

My name is Mike Cross-Barnet, and I serve as Manager of Neighborhood Programs for Strong City Baltimore. I am the organizer for Healthy Neighborhoods in Better Waverly, along with Peter Duvall of Community Development Services, a fiscally sponsored project of Strong City.

As you probably know, Strong City (formerly Greater Homewood) has a long history of supporting community leaders in Better Waverly. We worked with the community to bring Giant to the neighborhood and also to expand the Farmers Market to year-round. We were involved for many years with the Barclay school through our VISTA and Community School programs, and we still operate the nearby 29th Street Community Center.

For over 15 years, Greater Homewood/Strong City has partnered with Healthy Neighborhoods to strengthen North-Central Baltimore communities and help people stay in their homes. Healthy Neighborhoods encourages homeowner investment in stable but generally undervalued areas of Baltimore, i.e. “middle neighborhoods.”

Healthy Neighborhoods differs from a typical lender in a number of ways, including the fact that it is Baltimore-based and is a nonprofit dedicated to serving the community, not shareholders. Probably the biggest draw is its matching rehab grant: when obtaining a home mortgage or taking out a home improvement loan, Healthy Neighborhoods customers can receive a dollar-for-dollar match up to $10,000 for those earning less than 120% of Area Median Income. 

But the $10,000 grant is just one of Healthy Neighborhoods’ distinctive features. The program offers three kinds of loans: purchase/rehab for new buyers, home improvement loans for established homeowners (projects up to $30,000), and refinance/renovation loans for homeowners wanting to do more extensive projects. Other special aspects of Healthy Neighborhoods loans include: 

No private mortgage insurance (PMI) required for purchase/rehab loans 

With just 3% down, customers can borrow up to 110% of after-rehab appraised value for purchase/rehab or refinance/rehab and up to 105% for home improvement 

Loans up to $295,000 with no upper income restriction 

Free architect services to help plan improvements and review contractor proposals  

Can be combined with other homeowner incentives from Live Baltimore, Live Near Your Work, Maryland Historical Trust rehab tax credits, etc. 

Currently, Healthy Neighborhoods home improvement loans are available to any homeowner in Better Waverly, while purchase/rehab and refinance/rehab loans are available on these Target Blocks:

Another popular feature of Healthy Neighborhoods is its funding of block improvement and marketing projects that enhance the appeal of a neighborhood. Over the years, Healthy Neighborhoods and Strong City have made possible dozens of block projects in Better Waverly and other North-Central neighborhoods. These have included tree plantings, mosaic number signs, and house painting projects.

Mike Cross-Barnet

(Pronouns: He/Him/His)

Manager of Neighborhood Programs

Strong City Baltimore


Fall-O-Ween Neighborhood Celebration

5pm to 8:30pm Saturday October 24, 2020 at 808-814 Homestead Street, in the Sculpture Garden. Come one come all to celebrate Fall in the neighborhood! All ages and costumes encouraged!


-Pumpkin carving and painting (First come, first serve for free pumpkins – adults bring your own knives for carving. We will provide paint, brushes, smocks for kids.)


-Prize giveaway – best costume prize! 

-Fire pit and s’mores making

-Spooky music and double feature: 

-5:15-6:30 PM Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island (G)

-6:45-8:20 PM Hocus Pocus (PG)

Mask & social distancing required! (Free masks and hand sanitizer provided.)

BYOB (21+ for booze), food for a picnic dinner, and blankets. 

We will provide apples, waters, and pre-packaged cookies.

Hosted by 901 Arts & Better Waverly Mutual Aid. Presentado de 901 Arts & Better Waverly Mutual Aid 

BWCO: Checking IN

Better Waverly Community Organization (BWCO) had an outdoor in person socially distanced mask wearing meeting of officers and directors on the evening of Oct. 7th at a Gorsuch Avenue lawn near Ellerslie Avenue. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, BWCO has not been able to hold normal monthly board meetings or general meetings either. No annual meeting took place in September to elect new directors. BWCO asks Better Waverly neighbors to accept the 2019-2020 officers and directors prolonging their terms until such time as a general election meeting seems both feasible and safe. 

To better serve our community, we will begin hosting monthly Zoom meetings at which residents will be welcome to join. More details will follow; but for now we want you to know that we hope to have Zoom meetings set up for 6pm Wednesday November 11 and 6pm Wednesday December 9, 2020. Our current officers and directors are: Michelle Cannady & Sonja Merchant Jones (co-chairs), Sharon Neely (treasurer) & Joe Stewart (secretary), William Cannady (parliamentarian) and Debra Evans. 

We invite you to visit us online at <> and on Facebook and to join Better Waverly Next Door if you haven’t already done so. We will post links to our Zoom meetings on our website, on our Facebook page and on Better Waverly Next Door.

We recognize how pinched and strapped many people are and will understand if you are not able to join or rejoin as a dues paying member. But if you are able and willing to do so, dues checks payable to BWCO can be mailed to BWCO, Post Office Box 16007, Baltimore MD 21218. Dues are $5 for individual residents and $10 for households.

If you would like to receive an email invitation to a Zoom meeting, please send a message to our secretary, Joe Stewart, at <>.

Mutual Aid

Better Waverly Mutual Aid continues to provide food boxes to over 130 households in the neighborhood every week. In addition, with help from a small grant from Johns Hopkins, community partnerships and donations, Better Waverly Mutual Aid has given out resources like masks, sanitizer, menstrual and incontinence supplies, and toilet paper. If you know someone who wants help and/or wants to get involved, they can email, or call (410) 635-0688.