Reinvestment Fund financing is helping CASA de Maryland renovate the vacant, historic Belnord Theater to create a new Regional Education and Employment Center for their services in Southeast Baltimore.
The new center will enable CASA to significantly expand its workforce and youth development programming, coupled with wraparound services and supports for the city’s immigrant and minority residents. It will also serve as a hub for multi-racial youth education and leadership development programs.
CASA was founded in 1985 to assist Central American refugees fleeing wars and strife at home and has grown into one of the foremost Latino and immigrant organizations in the mid-Atlantic. CASA provides employment placement; workforce development and training; health education; citizenship and legal services; and financial, language, and literacy training to Latino and immigrant communities throughout the state. It has recently expanded to northern Virginia and central Pennsylvania.
For the past 10 years, CASA’s Baltimore programs have been housed in a leased space, which has become inadequate to meet the needs of the community, particularly for on-site vocational training and after school programming. The 16,000-square-foot Belnord building will include space for offices, classrooms and community meeting space. With the new space, CASA’s social services programming expects to serve an additional 7,000 low-income individuals annually and more than triple client visits to 46,000 annually.
The project will repurpose a building that has been vacant for a decade, supporting other efforts in the immediate area by Southeast Community Development Corporation and Banner Neighborhoods, Inc., to build from the strength of the neighborhoods to the south and west and connect to other work underway to the north.
Reinvestment Fund financing is supporting an $11.5 million New Markets Tax Credit transaction. Reinvestment Fund and Raza Development Fund are providing NMTC allocations. PNC Bank is the NMTC investor. Reinvestment Fund is also providing loans to bridge to state and federal historic tax credits as well as to several grants. Reinvestment Fund is also providing a permanent loan with capital sourced from the Baltimore Energy Initiative program, a City/Public Service Commission-funded program to support energy efficiency improvements for nonprofits and small businesses.