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  THE LOW INCOME & URBAN HOUSING BLOG  

Monday, November 6, 2017

City of Baltimore May Sell Homes for $1 Instead of Demolishing Them

Abandoned buildings in Baltimore

It would cost Baltimore $700 million to demolish and replace 4,000 vacant buildings. So, five Baltimore City Councilors are seeking the city's approval to sell the homes for $1, a program that worked well in the 1980s and preserved historic neighborhoods. But will it work today?

Replace or revive?

Baltimore's Project CORE (Creating Opportunities for Renewal and Enterprise) has nearly $100 million to demolish entire rows of buildings and leave lots that are “clean and green.” In addition, the state has promised $600 million in incentives and subsidies from existing programs to spur new development. The total project would cost $700 million. However, Preservation Maryland and Baltimore Heritage disagree. They are pushing to revive a 1980s program to sell the properties for just $1 each.

Selling properties for $1 would allow prospective owners to purchase the building for $1 and commit to living in and repairing it. The proposal would also include a one percent interest rate which would allow new homeowners to pay as little as $300 per month to repay the loan. The program is designed to provide more housing opportunities for low-income families while also preserving historic neighborhoods.

More than 16,000 vacant buildings

The city's plan to demolish 4,000 vacant buildings would replace the buildings with "clean and green" lots. They also point out that the current deteriorating buildings attracts violent crime and should be demolished. In addition, Baltimore's population has declined from nearly 950,000 to 615,000 people in 2016, leaving an increasing amount of vacant buildings that now numbers 16,000.

Read more about Baltimore's plan for redevelopment, reinvestment, and stabilization of the city by visiting http://planning.baltimorecity.gov/project-core


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