By March, three newly refurbished houses should be available for sale to low-income families thanks to a joint effort between New Shiloh Baptist Church and 1st Mariner Bank.
The houses, which were in foreclosure, were donated to the West Baltimore church last month by 1st Mariner Bank.
"We are pleased to support the efforts of New Shiloh and admire their vision for the properties," Edwin F. Hale Sr., 1st Mariner's chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. "We are continuing to look for ways to reinvest in the communities we serve. Donating these properties is just one way by which we hope to make a difference."
Starting this month, New Shiloh members plan to rehabilitate the houses - two in Pimlico and one in Druid Heights - into units with three bedrooms and 1 1/2 bathrooms each. They will sell for about $40,000, said Vanessa Pyatt, a member of the New Shiloh Village Community Development Corp. board of directors.
Specific criteria for potential homeowners are being finalized, but the board wants to help low- to moderate-income families buy a home in the community, Pyatt said.
Mortgages for the homes should be about $300 a month, including taxes and homeowners insurance, said Dennis Finnegan, executive vice president of 1st Mariner Bank.
Kevin Brown, spokesman for the city's housing department, applauded the arrangement.
"It is always encouraging when banks, nonprofits and community-development corporations join with faith-based institutions to create affordable housing opportunities for residents," Brown said.
There is a desperate need for low-income housing in Baltimore, where 4,245 families are on the public housing waiting list.
The takeover of the homes reflects New Shiloh's interest into city neighborhoods.
As part of a 14-acre village it is establishing near the church, New Shiloh has purchased several buildings in a three-block radius of its main sanctuary in the 2100 block of North Monroe St. The additional buildings will provide academic instruction and vocational training.
In September, New Shiloh opened its Village Family Development Center. Housed in the former Cloverdale Dairy building between Mondawmin and Sandtown-Winchester, the village provides services ranging from prenatal care to family counseling.