Leading Change in the PSO: Janet Abrahams

Perkins-Somerset Oldtown

The Housing Authority of Baltimore City is leading a redevelopment project in a historically disinvested neighborhood located within minutes of downtown. The Perkins-Somerset Oldtown Project will bring new housing, a school, and critical community resources, impacting almost 6,000 city residents. Community, local, state, federal government, and private sector working together to build equitable and inclusive places to live.

The Perkins, Somerset, and Oldtown (PSO) Project in Baltimore, led by Housing Authority of Baltimore, aims to rejuvenate the historic Oldtown neighborhood by focusing on mixed-use spaces, affordable housing, and community-centric amenities. Through careful urban planning and community engagement, it aims to preserve the neighborhood's heritage while integrating modern elements to meet residents' diverse needs.

Initiated in 2010, the Perkins-Somerset Oldtown Reinvestment Project receives funding from the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, a federal program administered by HUD. This initiative supports local efforts to transform impoverished areas into sustainable, mixed-income communities by providing grants for vital improvements in housing, vacant properties, services, and education, fostering safer and more prosperous neighborhoods.

The new units are part of the total 2,172 mixed-income homes being built across the 244-acre PSO transformation footprint. Approximately 60 percent of the new units being built across the three development sites are designated for low-income, affordable housing. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently awarded HABC a $10 million Choice Neighborhood Implementation grant to support the PSO Transformation.

“We have successfully worked in partnership with the City of Baltimore and our many public and private partners from the outset of the PSO Transformation. The efforts by all of us have been recognized locally and nationally, helping us build modern and equitable housing for our residents,” said Janet Abrahams, HABC’s President and CEO.

Ms. Abrahams boasts an extensive career in public housing administration, amassing over two decades of experience dedicated to enhancing affordable housing communities and residents' quality of life. With pivotal roles held at three prominent housing authorities—Chicago, Newark, and most recently, New York City—she has been instrumental in spearheading innovative approaches aimed at transforming these communities and improving living standards for their inhabitants. Abrahams' impactful contributions reflect a commitment to driving positive change and innovation within the realm of public housing administration across the country.

Baltimore is fortunate to benefit from Ms. Abrahams' wealth of experience and expertise in public housing administration. Her proven track record of implementing innovative strategies to uplift communities aligns perfectly with the city's goals, promising a bright future for Baltimore's affordable housing initiatives under her guidance.

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