Mayor Scott, Baltimore Community Groups Call For Creation Of Public Body To Fight Vacancy Crisis

Mayor Brandon Scott addresses faith-based leaders and supporters of BUILD. Screenshot via @mayorbmscott on Instagram.

What’s happening?

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott joined faith-based leaders and other community advocates in calling for the creation of a public body—including $2.5 billion in funding from the state, city, or federal government—to address housing vacancies in the city, Sophia Kaskove and Emily Sullivan report for the Baltimore Banner. A local organization, BUILD, convened the Feb. 16 conference following the release of its sponsored report, which estimated that the city has tens of thousands more vacant properties than it originally claimed. 

What are the details of the report?

The report, developed by urban planning firm czb, estimates Baltimore City has 70,000 vacant properties, lots, and nearby buildings at risk of becoming vacant, up from the 15,000 properties the city currently considers vacant. The report also stated the cost associated with addressing the city’s vacancy crisis could reach up to $7.5 billion, including the $2.5 requested by the special entity. 

The city’s current method of dealing with vacancies—demolishing one building as another becomes vacant—is already costing it $200 million a year in lost tax revenue and spending, according to a report by Johns Hopkins researchers.

“Baltimore’s vacant property problem is not the mere equivalent of a series of vacant buildings that need to be addressed,” according to the report. “Instead, what the city has on its hand are dozens of long-distressed neighborhoods that are overwhelmed by poverty and disinvestment.”

Anything else I should know? 

As a candidate, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore pledged to allocate resources and funding to address Baltimore’s vacancy crisis, though the governor has not yet ordered any state intervention. Some existing policy initiatives include a 2019 state law referred to as Judicial in Rem Foreclosure, which allows the city to take control of a vacant property where the value of the liens exceeds the property’s value. Councilwoman Odette Ramos also plans to introduce legislation that would create a land bank to raise money for property rehabilitation. 

You can read more here. 

1 thought on “Mayor Scott, Baltimore Community Groups Call For Creation Of Public Body To Fight Vacancy Crisis”

  1. As a life-long resident of, and activist in this city I love, I am here to serve as a supporter of restoring Baltimore by ensuring affordable housing is available using combined
    Resources provided through public & private programs to renovate vacant properties.
    Provide city residents education about financial literacy, planning and commitment to the achievable goal of home Ownership.
    Development of training opportunities to learn skills needed tn the building trades; utilize sweat equity to assist in renovation of vacants throughout the city.

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