For 80 years, CPHA has been the honest and trusted broker capable of intervening and coalescing divergent views into constructive solutions. CPHA’s legacy as a first responder to the emergent needs of the region includes the launch of the City Fair, removing alcohol and tobacco billboards from neighborhoods, prohibiting landlords from dumping property from evicted tenants on our city streets, and leading effective grassroots campaigns that support neighborhood stabilization. CPHA is preparing for the next 80 years by using the latest training and advocacy tools to develop the next generation of civic leaders. CPHA knows Baltimore can be better!
A few highlights through the decades and a tradition of making a difference
A group of concerned Baltimore citizens noticed urgent challenges of the wartime industrial boom including the development of slums. The first CPHA meeting was held at the Baltimore Museum of Art on April 25, 1941.
CPHA transformed from an organization with a citywide focus into a partner for communities engaged in their own improvement. Organizations turned to CPHA as a liaison between them and city government. In addition, CPHA fought for the legislation and funding to create a park in the Solider's Delight area of the county.
As CPHA approached 50, it developed and refined tools for directly assisting communities including the release of its first self-help handbooks, intensive neighborhood leadership development courses, the Baltimore Neighborhood Resource Bank, and tip sheets for community improvement.
With the passage of the 1949 and 1954 Housing Acts, Baltimore and CPHA emerged as as national leaders in urban renewal. CPHA began its zoning alert service, a mainstay for the organization, and the School Neighborhood Improvement Program began to educate the youth in 1957.
For the first time, CPHA enters the legal realm, successfully suing Baltimore County for limiting citizen input through a reorganization of the County Planning Board, setting a national precedent for citizen taxpayer suits against government officials for arbitrary action. Additionally, at the behest of CPHA, the County passed the nation's strongest historic preservation law.
Always in the business of bringing people together, CPHA continued its success through the creation of coalitions in the 1990s. The Coalition for a Beautiful Neighborhoods, the Coalition for Better Liquor Laws, and the Neighborhood Congress all brought diverse players together and achieved soaring success. CPHA had commenced research into education policy. After examining school systems around the country, CPHA allied with neighborhoods to create four new, community-based elementary schools, pioneering approaches for the creation of new schools.
In October 2000 and again in June 2002, CPHA mobilized hundreds of community, business, religious, and environmental organizations and thousands of individuals from every jurisdiction in the Baltimore region to attend two “Rally for the Region” events. Approaching the next decade, CPHA created the Activate Your Inner Citizen workshop series for community leaders to learn the skills of community development from their peers around the city.
If you are interested in doing your own research on CPHA, please visit the University of Baltimore’s Special Collection on the Langsdale Library website. CPHA documents have been archived for public use.