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Buying Into Baltimore’s Comeback

Alum Invests in Affordable Housing to Revitalize City Communities

By Maggie Haslam

Shiron Lindsay ’08 portrait

Shiron Lindsay '08 has rehabbed homes throughout Baltimore and made them available for people from vulnerable communities. "I want to see Baltimore thrive," she said. "I want to be part of the solution."

Photo by John T. Consoli

Shiron Lindsay ’08 stands in front of a modest rowhouse in southwest Baltimore and looks out beyond the small front gate to the neighborhood of Morrell Park. Chairs and potted plants cluster on front porches. The joyful squeals of children permeate the crisp spring air. A community center is within eyesight, an elementary school around the corner.

They’re the characteristics Lindsay looks for in a community—places where she hopes she can help families make a new start in the wake of difficult circumstances. For the last four years, the instructional technology specialist in Baltimore City Public Schools (BCPSS) has quietly purchased homes across the city and rehabbed them largely with her own sweat equity and savings to provide safe, dignified housing for some of Baltimore’s most vulnerable individuals: grandparents raising grandchildren, recovering addicts, individuals with disabilities, families emerging from homelessness.

Her investment is deeply rooted in the network that the lifelong Baltimore resident has built, of family members, longtime friends and like-minded peers pouring their time, energy and capital into the city, which has a history of poor investment and redlining, and an abundance of vacant houses and abandoned lots.

“I’ve seen how having a nice, safe place to live can really change a person’s situation,” she said. “And I want to change the landscape for families, for communities, in Baltimore.”

Born and raised in West Baltimore and the oldest of five children, Lindsay attended BCPSS’ Polytechnic Institute. She was one of nine city students to earn a full scholarship in 2004 to the University of Maryland as part of the C.D. Mote, Jr. Incentive Awards Program (IAP), which recruits exceptional students from underserved communities and guides them through their undergraduate experience.

After earning her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, she was in an uninspiring job deciphering technical patent law when BCPSS officials approached her to teach engineering and computer science to middle schoolers. Over the next 10 years, she nurtured a passion for STEM at Poly. While she saw her impact on students academically, their unstable living situations played out in their appearance, attendance and attention.

“I’d been advocating for students and what their needs were in the classroom, but you really have to think about how they’re showing up to school,” said Lindsay, who kept a station of supplies, including lotion, sanitary pads and wet wipes, for students in need. “And having a stable place to live, a place to get ready in the morning, that can really influence a student’s ability to learn.”

A homeowner herself in Reservoir Hill, she purchased her first rental property in the Cold Spring area in 2020 after driving by the abandoned rowhouse on a “cute block” on the way to work. While in need of updates, it had good bones; she spent months painting and installing new countertops, lighting and appliances.

More properties followed, with Lindsay working with community partners and Baltimore’s Department of Housing and Community Development to find families and individuals in need to rent them. She builds equity in one house to finance the next, a method that has allowed her to now own four homes across the city. She’s intentional about where she buys, using the local school as the starting point. But she also looks for community resources, like summer camps and green spaces, and pays attention to how many cars are on the street; lots of cars mean less vacant housing.

“Shiron is doing what we’ve always intended our students to do, and that’s leverage their skills, knowledge and passion to benefit their community, and she’s doing that in a very tangible way,” said IAP Director Jaqueline Lee. “She is earning some generational wealth, but for her that’s not the driver. It’s about living out her commitment to Baltimore and enabling others to live a dignified life.”

One of Lindsay’s tenants, Antwanette Pittman, had been saving for two years to escape the drug-infested area of Baltimore where she lived but would not let her family visit her. She met Lindsay in 2020 through a contact at Narcotics Anonymous, who took her through the house in Cold Spring with its freshly painted walls, shiny hardwood floors and friendly neighbors.

“I took one look and said, ‘This is it,’” she said. “I had promised my granddaughter that I would find a place where she could have her own room. I love this house. It’s just a very big difference.”

Lindsay has had plenty of doubts about her path, particularly late at night, when she’s chiseling pink tile off an old bathroom wall. People have stared in disbelief when she shares her plan to eventually purchase a city block. She already has a full-time job with BCPS, she says—but this is her work.

“People wonder why I would choose to buy in the city, and my answer is, people need good places to live everywhere,” she said. “I want to see Baltimore thrive. I want to be part of the solution.”





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