Johns Hopkins Gazette: March 11, 1996

Community In Motion

Christine Rowett
Homewood News and Information

     Standing on St. Paul Street just a few blocks from the
Homewood campus, Patricia Fern ndez-Kelly (above) points to  the
Orient Express restaurant.

     "Do you know Fidel?" she asks, referring to restaurant owner
Fidel Andino. "He is from El Salvador. He came here and now he
cooks Chinese food. His is a great story."

     Her enthusiasm illustrates the support and interest
Fern ndez-Kelly has for the businesses and residents of Baltimore
City areas including Charles Village, where she has lived for
almost 10 years.

     Fern ndez-Kelly, a research scientist at the Institute for
Policy Studies, recently completed a 135-page report titled
"Greater Homewood: A Blueprint for Community Action," which
details the history, dynamics and forces of several neighborhoods
surrounding and including Hopkins. The work also identifies five
areas for improvement and action.

     The study was prepared, in part, to mark the 25th
anniversary of the Greater Homewood Community Corporation, an
umbrella organization of neighborhood associations. More than 25
community and business leaders were drafted to contribute to the
compilation of data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Department
of Health, city and Hopkins security records and on-the-street
interviews; subcommittees were later created to focus on specific
areas. Hopkins, Union Memorial Hospital and the GHCC sponsored
the study, which was conducted over a six-month period beginning
in November 1994.

     "I think that because 5,300 Hopkins students, faculty and
staff live in the area, we have a great interest," university
vice president Ross Jones said. "It is incumbent upon the
university to work with the community to address our problems as
well as our opportunities."

     For the purpose of the study, researchers divided the area--
which includes about 22 neighborhoods--into four clusters based
on common social and historical factors: Cluster 1, which
includes Guilford and Roland Park; Cluster 2, referred to as
Greater Waverly; Cluster 3, including Hampden and Remington; and
Cluster 4, Charles Village. About 77,000 residents live in the
combined areas.

     "Greater Homewood is an area that is energized by a lot of
diversity, in terms of racial and gender composition, income
levels and educational attainment," Fern ndez-Kelly said. "Of
course, it also has the tremendous attractions of Johns Hopkins
and the Baltimore Museum of Art. It is, indeed, an enviable place
to live."

     She believes the area is not unlike the city in general and
is, in fact, a "microcosm of the whole country."

     The northern portions of Greater Homewood, including Roland
Park, were developed in the 19th century on a few large estates
owned by wealthy families. Waverly, in contrast, originated as a
village and became a neighborhood for less affluent white
families. In the 1970s the demographics changed with the influx
of African Americans, mostly from North and South Carolina.

     "[Waverly] is now a predominantly black neighborhood whose
fortunes hang by a string," the report states. "It persists as a
vibrant and diversified working class community, which is being
favored by young professionals in search of affordable homes."

     What most people don't know, Fern ndez-Kelly said, is that
the company that developed Roland Park also developed Waverly for
working class families who wanted to imitate the lifestyles of
Roland Park residents.

     The Hampden area began as neighborhoods of families employed
by the grist and textile mills along what were the Jones Falls.
When industrial employment opportunities dwindled in the 1960s,
the neighborhoods dwindled, though they have retained their
blue-collar identity. Charles Village, which was originally
called Peabody Heights, attracted wealthy families and upwardly
mobile professionals. It now faces security problems and the
threat of failure to small businesses.

     The diversity in the area may be no more evident than in the
current prices of homes in Greater Homewood; an average home in
Roland Park sells for about $300,000.

     "Only a few census tracks down, the median price of a home
is under $20,000," Fern ndez-Kelly said. "And of course, there
are no buyers."

     Crime is the greatest concern of people living and working
in the area, Fern ndez-Kelly said, citing an incident last year
involving two armed area teens and a small group of Hopkins
students. The students were robbed, then forced to lie on their
stomachs as their assailants walked on their backs.

     "When you start walking over people, literally, you're not
only talking about stealing some money, you're talking about
inflicting a certain kind of humiliation on people with whom you
really do not feel any kind of connection," she said. "Of course,
they cannot feel any connection, because they are disconnected.

     "Clearly, the Harwood neighborhood is not part of the
Homewood community. It is physically close to us but it is
socially, completely severed," she said. "It is that kind of
dismemberment that generates all kinds of violence."

     In Charles Village, crimes include robberies and assaults;
the majority of those convicted of Charles Village crimes also 
live in the area. In Roland Park, however, the offenses are
considered "higher skill crimes," burglaries, larcenies, car

     "Those require transportation," Fern ndez-Kelly said. "They
are performed by outsiders."

     Crime figures from city police records show some trends that
are consistent with national statistics; crimes in the area
peaked in 1992, as did the use of crack cocaine. And 80 percent
of crimes are drug-related, either directly or indirectly. 

     The area near Johns Hopkins has a divided profile. The
neighborhoods of Waverly and Charles Village are integrated, but
at the block level there are high levels of segregation. The vast
majority of Asians, for example, are concentrated in north
Charles Village. Blacks live primarily in south Charles Village.

     In the north Charles Village area, the unemployment rate is
just over 3 percent, which is almost half of the national level.
In the Harwood neighborhood between 25th Street and North Avenue,
unemployment is 18 percent. About 40 percent of families are on
public assistance there, and there is a large number of children
and teenage pregnancies.

     Fern ndez-Kelly's research also revealed a few surprises
about her areas of study. She had heard, for example, complaints
from community members about what they perceived to be a small
number of Hopkins employees who live in the surrounding

     "The charge reflected the general sense that Hopkins is not
sensitive to community needs," she said. "But both the feeling
and the perception were not entirely accurate."

     In fact, she said, 43 percent of Homewood campus employees
reside within the Greater Homewood area.

     "Another surprising thing to discover is that the
characteristics of the Waverly area and those of
Hampden/Remington are almost identical," she said, citing
demographics and crime statistics. "The general perception is
that Hampden is kind of safe and that everything east of
Greenmount Avenue [Waverly] is dark and dangerous.

     "But basically most of Waverly is working class, salt of the
earth people, people with jobs, who own homes, send their
children to schools, etc.," she said. "The safest areas to live
in the whole area are Hampden and Greater Waverly." 

     After studying the data collected, the researchers came up
with suggestions for improvement in five areas: services for
women and children, attracting and retaining residents,
educational alternatives, revitalizing small businesses and
integrating health-care services. Each area is connected,
Fern ndez-Kelly said; if education opportunities were enhanced,
for example, fewer young professionals with small children would
move out of the city. Maintaining quality residents would, in
turn, attract businesses to the area. 

     "The logic was to identify those areas which would have the
largest positive multiplier effect when combined," she said. "All
of these problems would disappear if we had more people employed.
But the point is that neither Hopkins nor Union Memorial can have
a tremendous effect on the creation of numerous jobs,
particularly for unskilled people. So here the idea was to figure
out what is doable."

     One idea for the area is a trolley, which could be used for
historical tours as well as transportation. That plan would fall
under recommendations to attract both business and residents.
Incentives for property owners and the creation of rehabilitation
centers and community-based schools are also noted in the report
as efforts that could raise the standard of living in the area.

     Fern ndez-Kelly cited studies, improvements and incentive
plans in place at Yale and Princeton universities as ones that
have enhanced living conditions in those areas.

     "It behooves a university as large in importance as Johns
Hopkins and a hospital such as Union Memorial to take seriously
the idea that as problems escalate in the inner city, it really
becomes the responsibility of institutions, neighborhood
associations and individuals to join forces in order to address
common problems," she said. "But this is not just a question
about the community, but also a question about enlightened

     "Hopkins cannot allow the neighborhoods in the area to
decline," she said. "Because it is then impossible to retain the
best kinds of faculty and best students."

     In addition to the community leaders, residents and task
force recruits involved, the report has attracted church groups
and families from various neighborhoods. Fern ndez-Kelly has
presented her findings several times and will continue to seek
outside involvement.

     "One thing we want is to form partnerships, create bridges,
reduce the level of isolation some families feel," she said. 

     Hopkins vice president Jones said the university will meet
with representatives of the GHCC, Union Memorial and the Charles
Village Benefits District and task force leaders to develop a
plan and look at sources of financing to implement the

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