The Hebrew Orphans Asylum is a landmark property in West Baltimore’s Mosher neighborhood. Built in 1875, it was the oldest purpose-built Jewish orphanage in the country. Over the years, the building has had many uses, most recently as a Lutheran Hospital until it closed in 1989.
It has stood vacant since then, deteriorating over time. In a primarily residential community that has seen substantial disinvestment and where more than a quarter of the homes are vacant, the building was central to any comprehensive renewal efforts.
It is with neighborhood revitalization in mind that Coppin Heights Community Development Corporation (CHCDC) purchased the property from the University of Maryland system in 2017. CHCDC is a nonprofit corporation that was established by Coppin State University, a Historically Black College or University, to advance community improvement and neighborhood revitalization in the area around the University including the Greater Coppin Heights/Rosemont community.
With financing that included a State grant and a predevelopment loan from Reinvestment Fund, CHCDC stabilized the building, in anticipation of a larger project to repurpose the facility.
In 2018, Reinvestment Fund closed on financing to support the redevelopment of the historic building into a Center for Health Care and Healthy Living, leased by the City of Baltimore for various health and community service tenants. The primary tenant will be Crisis Stabilization Center for people with acute addiction crises, operated by Behavioral Health System of Baltimore (BHSB).
The Stabilization Center provides safe, short-term crisis services for individuals who are intoxicated from drugs and/or alcohol. Operated by BHSB, the center will be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year in Baltimore City, which has the highest rate of opioid use and public intoxication in Maryland. People are transported to the center by EMS or mobile crisis teams. The center can serve 30 people at any given time. This innovative model provides the community alternatives to sending people to overburdened emergency departments and supports recovery in communities, as it helps to link people with substance use disorders to treatment and recovery support services that will help them in overcoming their addiction. BHSB is currently operating a pilot center in a neighboring facility and will move to its new building when renovations are completed.
Reinvestment Fund supported the New Markets Tax Credit transaction for the project, with a permanent loan and loans to bridge Maryland State Historic Tax Credits, Federal Historic Tax Credits, a State Bond Grant and a grant from the Weinberg Foundation. Reinvestment Fund’s capital for the project includes resources from the Baltimore Energy Initiative, which incentivizes the creation of energy improvement measures. A portion of Reinvestment Fund’s loan is participated to Blue Hub Capital. Wells Fargo is the NMTC investor and Fallbrook Credit Finance is the Federal Historic Tax Credits investor. Harbor Bank is providing the NMTC allocation for the project.
The Stabilization Center is a critical access point into the broader public behavioral health system. People who receive care at the Center are offered meaningful connections to treatment and support services in the community and are also provided case management for 30 days after discharge from the center. The project also includes an ongoing evaluative component to assess if there is improved health outcomes for those served by the Center and cost-savings to the system of care. The evaluation is overseen by staff from Baltimore City Health Department, Johns Hopkins Hospital and BHSB.