A program that encourages Johns Hopkins employees to
purchase houses in select Baltimore
City neighborhoods has recently been re-launched with
greatly expanded grants.
The Live Near Your
Work program, which formerly provided up to $2,500 to
help with down
payments and closing costs, now will offer up to $17,000 in
financial aid to eligible homebuyers. The
revamped program has set a goal of providing grants to more
than 300 Johns Hopkins employees
during the next four years. The new funds became available
Aug. 1. The changes will be officially
announced today at the Live Near Your Work Home Ownership
Expo, to be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
at The Johns Hopkins Hospital's Turner Concourse.
The program is designed to help university and medical
system employees become homeowners
in Baltimore City and to live closer to the Johns Hopkins
William Brody, university president, said that the
program allows employees to cut commuting
costs, build home equity and contribute to the vibrancy of
the city by strengthening neighborhoods
and being in sync with the region's "smart growth"
"We see Johns Hopkins' enhanced Live Near Your Work
program as a winner for everyone. It
benefits our employees and the institutions, as well as the
communities surrounding our campuses and
the city of Baltimore," Brody said. "With about 45,000
employees, Johns Hopkins is Maryland's largest
private employer. We represent an enormous and highly
diverse pool of potential Baltimore City
homeowners, and we hope many of our employees will choose
to take advantage of this enhanced
The program is open to most full-time,
benefits-eligible employees of the Johns Hopkins
University and Johns Hopkins Health System. Eligible
employees at campuses in other cities, such as
the Montgomery County Campus in Rockville, Md., and the
School of Advanced International Studies in
Washington, D.C., also can participate if they wish to live
in the targeted Baltimore City
neighborhoods. No retroactive grants will be awarded.
Under the revised program guidelines, home purchases
must be made within two Baltimore City
program areas that include the Homewood, Johns
Hopkins@Eastern, Peabody, East Baltimore and
Bayview campuses. Within these areas, grant amounts will
vary according to the neighborhoods in
which the homes are purchased. For example, home purchases
in a Homewood area that includes
portions of the Harwood, Barclay and Greenmount West
neighborhoods are eligible for $17,000
grants; for houses in the Remington and Better Waverly
communities, as well as a section of Abell,
$10,000 grants will be awarded. The minimum grant level is
The program requires that recipients own and occupy
the home for a five-year period,
participate in home-ownership counseling and contribute at
least $1,000 toward the purchase,
depending on the location.
LNYW administrators are trying to focus the home
ownership incentives in a way that
maximizes the positive impact on select neighborhoods.
Michelle Carlstrom, senior director of the
Office of WorkLife and Engagement, which
administers Live Near Your Work, said that by providing the
greatest home-buying incentives in these
priority areas, the program aims to bolster neighborhoods
that already are doing well and to
strengthen emerging neighborhoods as they become more
vibrant, diverse and desirable places to live.
Carlstrom, herself a recent homebuyer who participated in
the program, said it also helps Johns
Hopkins recruit and retain employees.
Johns Hopkins originally launched its Live Near Your
Work program in 1997 in collaboration with
Baltimore City and the state of Maryland. It provided
financial help to benefits-eligible employees who
chose to purchase homes in more than 12 neighborhoods
surrounding the Homewood, East Baltimore,
Peabody and Bayview campuses. More than 300 Johns Hopkins
employees have purchased homes in the
targeted communities through the program, receiving up to
$2,500 through a combination of Johns
Hopkins, city and state grants.
In recent years, however, soaring home costs have
negated the impact of the program and
caused it to stagnate, Carlstrom said.
"Fewer people were taking advantage of the program
because it just wasn't enough of an
incentive anymore, especially in certain neighborhoods
where home prices just skyrocketed," she said.
"We feel the new program and grant amounts will encourage
people to participate and provide the
home-buying assistance they need."
The additional home-buying support was made possible
by a $2.5 million grant from the Rouse
Company Foundation. In accepting the grant, the Johns
Hopkins Institutions agreed to provide a
One of the first beneficiaries of the new program was
Keith Brock, an accounts receivable
coordinator for the
Johns Hopkins University Press. Brock, who joined JHU
in 2006, had learned of
the Live Near Work Program through a colleague and earlier
this year attempted to find a home in the
greater Charles Village area.
He found one on Guilford Avenue, but the price tag was
a little more than he wanted to spend.
To his surprise and delight, he discovered that the house
was in one of the newly targeted zones and
that he was eligible to receive $16,000 from Johns Hopkins
and $1,000 from the city.
"The Live Near Your Work Program is the only way I
could afford a house in the area I was
looking at," Brock said. "I'm just very grateful for this
program. The changes to the program allowed
me to buy the home I wanted, where I wanted and with a
mortgage I could afford. And I was amazed
how easy everything was."
Mary Leslie Sylvia, administrative coordinator in the
School of Medicine's Neuroscience Critical
Care Unit, moved from Georgia to Baltimore in January and
had been renting. She wanted to own a
home close to the East Baltimore campus as part of her goal
to achieve a healthier lifestyle. She
found just what she was looking for on East Baltimore
Street, located adjacent to Patterson Park.
Sylvia closed on her house earlier this month and said
she looks forward to commuting to work
on a bike.
For more information about the program, including a
detailed map of the Live Near Your Work
boundaries, go to:
www.jhu.edu/lnyw or call 443-997-7000.