2018 Community Partnership Award Winners
NATIONAL AWARD-WINNING PROGRAM
GOVERNOR HUGH L. CAREY AWARD RECIPIENT
Baltimore City Deconstruction Project
In Baltimore, empty, dilapidated buildings stretch for blocks in every direction. The economic and human cost of this increasingly common urban decay is enormous. As the city works to stem the tide of the vacant housing crisis, Humanim, Inc., and its partners are providing an innovative solution that offers hope for Baltimore’s future.
For nearly 50 years, Baltimore‐based Humanim has empowered individuals facing social and economic challenges through innovative workforce development services. In 2014, it launched the Baltimore City Deconstruction Project – a pioneering collaboration with Baltimore City Housing and the Office of Sustainability that created the first municipal contract to dismantle by hand, rather than wrecking ball, abandoned buildings as part of a blight elimination, economic development and workforce strategy.
Humanim is deconstructing vacant houses in Baltimore’s hardest-hit neighborhoods, hiring and training residents to do the work. Many of these workers were formerly incarcerated people trying to change their lives; today, all earn a living wage and are eligible for raises and benefits as they gain experience. As they take apart buildings, piece-by-piece, much of the materials saved are being sold through a thriving sales and distribution channel for reclaimed brick and board that Humanim developed. Rather than ending up in landfills, 1.2 million bricks and more than 425,000 board feet of lumber have been salvaged and sold in 20 states and six countries to‐date. Once the buildings are cleared, Humanim makes way for the City of Baltimore and the U.S. Forest Service to turn the empty lots into green spaces.
“The Baltimore City Deconstruction Project is a win for the city, for residents who might not otherwise find work and for the environment. Over 185 individuals have been employed to-date, and in the past two and a half years, not a single previously incarcerated worker has reoffended,” said Henry Posko, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Based on this success, the State of Maryland has agreed to expand our program to develop employment opportunities for other returning citizens.”