OCT 15, 2019

winter is coming

It seems like only a short time ago that we were working diligently to save the small row houses on Etting Street from demolition. As many of you know, we did save those row houses. It was because of your belief and quite frankly, because of your donations, that this was possible. We had support not only from Baltimoreans but from my communities on the West Coast – evidence that this project is bigger than Baltimore; no one should sleep on this.
We are now working determinedly to rehabilitate the Etting Street row houses. In January we signed the Land Disposition Agreement with the city. When a ransomware attack shut down many Baltimore City governmental functions, including the transfer of properties, we moved forward on our work by obtaining a Construction Right of Entry in late July. Once our construction permits were approved, we began working on our first house with Quanshay Henderson, our first participant.
Quanshay grew up in South Baltimore, along with several siblings, and has been working with Black women Build-Baltimore while employed as a hospice aid. She has enjoyed learning the skills to work on her home, and looks forward to the financial independence that will bring.
We’ve done extensive work on Quanshay’s house: debris removal, brick work, roofing, framing a sun porch and deck, and revealing the original brick facade. We are about to bring in other trades for the next phase of rough ins — HVAC, plumbing, and electrical — before moving on to finish work.
Quanshay's house - demo begins

Growing BWBB

We’ve been working on our organization as well. Mid-year, BWBB elected a new board of directors and installed our advisory board. Check out their bios.
BWBB Team strategic planningOver a weekend in late June, we held our first board retreat and strategic planning session. We dug into our vision, our mission, and our values, and produced a three year plan of goals – one of which was to acquire and rehabilitate a total of 10 houses and one vacant lot on Etting Street. We’ve named this plan The Etting Street Project. We closed on four previously city-owned properties on September 19, and are working to obtain the remaining vacant houses on Etting Street, both city- and privately-owned.


Black women Build-Baltimore has been gaining press attention. Baltimore Magazine just profiled our organization in October’s issue. We enjoyed the opportunity to talk about who we are, what we do, and why we are doing the work of building wealth through home ownership.

I wrote an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun challenging the foresight of a low-income development that is being built in the neighborhood. You can read the full text here.

moving forward

Black Women Build – Baltimore won its second grant from Baltimore City’s Community Catalyst Program in September. These grants are awarded to help emerging organizations with operation and capital expenses. We have learned that government funding moves slowly, as we are still awaiting our check from the first March grant.

And this is where you can help. No, it’s not a letter writing campaign to the City, but it does involve paper. I know you believe in the work that we do, so please consider donating via the link at below. As we finish Quanshay’s house this Fall, we need additional funding to stabilize and do roof repairs to protect the remaining three houses before winter. For monthly donors, we have a small gift to show our appreciation.

Shelley Halstead, Executive Director Black Women Build - Baltimore
Shelley Halstead
Thank you for your support.

Shelley Halstead
Founder and Executive Director
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Creating community, knowledge, and wealth together.

This project is supported in part by:
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Baltimore Department of Housing & Community Development Grant
Black Women Build-Baltimore is committed to equal employment, participation, and volunteer opportunity without regard to age, ancestry, disability, national or ethnic origin, race, religious belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, political belief, or veteran status.

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