Community Champion Award-Parity Homes

Parity Homes

Parity Homes is an equitable real estate development company located in West Baltimore that is currently is focused on the West Baltimore neighborhood of Harlem Park, where it is working to acquire and rehabilitate abandoned rowhomes by the block and provide high-quality houses below market cost.

The nonprofit seeks to address wealth inequities in Baltimore’s African American communities by facilitating homeownership for individuals who often could not otherwise afford a home in the city given historic systemic inequities facilitated through redlining.

Parity Homes completed its first two homes in 2023 and hopes to renovate 20 more in 2024.

“Our company’s mantra is ‘Development Without Displacement,’ ” said Imani Yasin, Parity Homes’ director of strategic initiatives. “We really do this as a means of social justice. We do it as a means of racial equity. And we do it as a means of highlighting the beauty in Black neighborhoods that have suffered the effects of disinvestment and distress over the years.

“We chose this neighborhood for a number of reasons — obviously, the rich history and the amount of vacancy that’s in Harlem Park, but also because of the strength of the community that exists here,” Yasin added. “There are beautiful parks, there’s a historic religious community with plenty of churches, and it’s close to transportation. So it really started from the knowledge that this neighborhood has not just a rich history, but also beautiful potential for the future.”

Parity Homes’ staff consists of five full-time employees, three fellows, and one part-timer. Potential homeowners must attend information sessions and complete an eight-week homeownership curriculum to join the collective.

Parity Homes aims to eventually rebuild homes in other areas of the city.

“There are a lot of beautiful places to live in Baltimore,” Yasin said. “And one of the things that makes us so different as a developer is that we leverage what we call social capital — that is the buy-in from people who do want to live in communities like these, who want to take part in the rich history and potential, and want to do so in a community with other people who are going to move into the neighborhood as well.

“We have cohorts of people who go through our homeownership curriculum at the same time. So when people buy a Parity home, they’re buying the house before there’s been any work done to it. They’re really investing in what they know will be the future vision.”