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Nonprofit Make Space looking to revitalize Mount Clare neighborhood

Posted at 6:21 PM, Jun 24, 2024

BALTIMORE — McHenry Street in Mount Clare is like plenty of streets in West Baltimore; littered with homes featuring boarded up windows and reflective red diamonds to show first responders, these homes are empty.

Make Space is trying to change that with a model to get local artists into those vacant homes.

"So the idea is that the residents that are in the community that own their home in the community also own some of the commercial assets that are in the communities," said Patricia Ofori, the founder of Make Space.

Currently the nonprofit is securing and renovating 20 buildings in Mount Clare.

Some will be sold as houses, others used as community spaces.

We toured their first, and the interior is filled with beautiful new fixtures and appliances but this isn't just about flipping homes.

"We have the construction side where we're building the houses and then we have the education side, it's almost like what we would call wrap around services," said Ofori.

Make Space operates off a cohort model.

Bringing in local artists with a community based style to eventually purchase the homes and beautify the neighborhood.

"I used to be a teaching artists, I'm a fine artist, I do graphics and I also work for Maryland citizens for the arts," said Tracey Stevens, a member of the cohort.

Stevens joined the cohort in 2022.

While she hasn't moved into a home yet the program has been beneficial.

"It helped me with my finances to make sure that I had everything straight and I found out I had really good credit which is great and it also helped me develop a community with the other artists in the cohort," said Stevens.

Stevens and the other cohorts have to commit to hours of training and mentorship.

It helps them prepare for being homeowners and make sure their art style will work in the community.

“What we’re doing is creating a model that can be duplicated, replicated, hopefully on a national level," said Ofori.

Trying to lift up a community and create pathways to ownership.

“Just because someone tells you where you live is bad, doesn’t mean that it’s bad," said Stevens.

“Our goal is to empower other people to understand the powers of ownership and experience it for themselves," said Ofori.

Trying to tackle the vacant home crisis one community at a time.

To find out how to join the cohort, click here.