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How the Neighborhood That Inspired “The Wire” Is Pulling Its Residents Out of Poverty


Lionel Terrell, who has struggled to find work due to a criminal record, is employed as part of the Clean & Green Landscaping program operated by Bon Secours Hospital. Photo by Jay Mallin.

  • When large institutions like universities and hospitals agree to hire and spend locally, they can transform neighborhoods hardest hit by poverty and unemployment.
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Cecilia Garza & Araz Hachadourian, Yes! Magazine

Mar 15, 2017 | It’s not often that a street intersection becomes as notorious as the corner of Fayette and Monroe in West Baltimore. During the ’80s and ’90s, the corner was ground zero for the city’s open-air drug market. Both a manifestation and symptom of Baltimore’s rising poverty, the corner became an inspiration for the television series The Wire.

A few blocks away from Fayette and Monroe is Bon Secours Hospital, built in 1919 by a group of Parisian nuns on a social mission. George Kleb was just a few years into his role as executive director of the affiliated Bon Secours Foundation when a problem was brought to his attention: The foundation had just invested $30 million in a hospital that both patients and doctors were scared to enter.

Cecilia Garza & Araz Hachadourian: Cecilia is a writer and communications professional at Social Venture Partners. She has received six awards for her work in local newswriting. Araz is a regular contributor to YES! 

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