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Affordable Housing Opens At Former Site Of Cardinal Gibbons

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Finding a good apartment when you're on a limited income can be hard enough. Now imagine how hard it is to find a good affordable apartment when you have a disability.

Saint Agnes Hospital and Bon Secours has come up with a solution, WJZ's Mike Schuh reports.

When Cardinal Gibbons High School closed six years ago, alumni mourned its closure and neighbors in Southwest Baltimore wondered what would happen to the 32-acre site.

Now the first piece of a mixed-use community has opened.

"This is all about giving back to the community," said Keith Vanderkolk, president of St. Agnes Healthcare.

The Gibbons Apartments fill a huge need, both for blue collar job holders and the disabled.

"It's an 80 unit complex. Some 32 units have already been leased, including some of our own associates. We're happy to announce that some of our own employees are living here as well," said Vanderkolk.

Who wouldn't like wide, bright hallways in a totally new energy efficient building?

Modern in look and feel and designed to be LEED Silver certified, ten of the apartments were built so the disabled would have an easier time.

What residents pay is based on what they earn. It's truly affordable housing.

Bon Secours employee Yolanda Samuels just moved in.

"I rush to get home. I can't wait to get to my apartment," said Samuels.

What a difference. She moved in from a very challenged block near downtown.

"Right there in the heart of everything wicked. So I'm glad to be here. I feel safe," Samuels said.

Over the next few years, the rest of the campus will fill in with more projects.

"The vision for the entire property is to give back to the community through affordable housing, through education, through recreation, through healthcare and some commercial sites as well," Vanderkolk said.

You also have to remember--the site is historic ground. It's where Babe Ruth learned his craft.

In a few weeks, a renovated Babe Ruth Field will open to honor his legacy and connection to Baltimore.

Enterprise Homes, a nonprofit based in Columbia founded by Jim Rouse, was the developer. It has helped to build more than 6,000 affordable homes in the mid-Atlantic.

Some of the two and three bedroom apartments are still available. Those interested in rental units can call 443-759-9348.

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