Mission, Heritage, History

Mt. Airy USA staff, 2016











Photo: Steve Weinik

Live. Work. Thrive.

The mission of Mt. Airy USA is to preserve, empower and advance a vibrant and diverse Mt. Airy by stimulating development responsive to the community’s needs.

Mt. Airy USA was founded in 1980, by residents of East and West Mt. Airy who had tired of blighted and dilapidated buildings on Germantown Avenue, the community’s business corridor. Driven by a desire to revitalize this historic avenue, the dedicated residents established Mt. Airy USA to solve these problems. The organization initially focused on acquisition and rehabilitation of neglected commercial storefronts along the avenue, transforming them into income-producing properties currently owned and operated by local neighborhood merchants. That focus has since grown into a multi-faceted approach for the full realization of Mt. Airy’s vast potential. Currently, Mt. Airy USA works towards its mission in four program areas: 1) Housing Counseling, 2) Real Estate Development, 3) Commercial Corridor Revitalization, and 4) a Public Schools Initiative.

The Housing Counseling program delivers high-quality services to low and moderate-income first time homebuyers and existing homeowners. Both the counseling and workshops have expanded since their founding to include foreclosure prevention, home improvement, and financial literacy. Over the years, the department has assisted over 6,000 low to moderate income individuals either interested in purchasing a home for the first time or saving their home from foreclosure. Rehabilitation efforts, and sales to persons with low-to-moderate income, have remained integral to the organization’s efforts. The outcome has been thousands of families achieving homeownership with a much lower rate of foreclosure than the non-counseled population.

MAUSA’s Real Estate Development program has also rehabilitated several vacant and deteriorating homes and transformed them into high-quality, affordable housing for numerous families in Mt. Airy. These efforts have not only brought more families to Mt. Airy, but also raised the quality-of-life for other residents of the area and rekindled enthusiasm for the neighborhood. MAUSA has also acquired and rehabilitated many vacant, neglected storefronts along Germantown Avenue and turned them into commercial amenities adding to the economic vibrancy of the community. MAUSA’s significant streetscape improvements and large-scale community events like “Street Fare” and summertime “Moonlight Movies in Mt. Airy” have also brought new life to the community.

Another important aspect of Mt. Airy USA’s mission is business district revitalization. The Commercial Corridor Revitalization program has transformed Germantown Avenue – which was widely known as a crime-ridden, graffiti-scarred corridor – into one of the City’s most vibrant commercial sectors. Mt. Airy is now known as a thriving hub of restaurants, small businesses and neighborhood arts & culture. MAUSA formed the Business Association of Mt. Airy (BAM) in 2012 to provide key services for area businesses. Largely emphasizing marketing and educational programming, the initiative seeks the well-being and exposure of local business.

With key partnerships from likeminded organizations, local businesses, and perhaps most importantly, dedicated residents and volunteers, Mt. Airy USA is ever-dedicated to continuing and elevating its successful track record of community revitalization. Live. Work. Thrive.