Past efforts by Baltimore to raffle for $1, to demolish, and to refurbish the city's estimated 46,800 vacant houses and lots (16% of the city's housing stock) have proven unsuccessful. Now, the city it trying a new approach, ignoring most of them and focusing its limited funds on the most viable housing markets, writes Yeebo.
Yeebo spoke about the city's strategy change with Ira Goldstein, director of policy solutions at The Reinvestment Fund, who produced the assessment that Baltimore used to pinpoint stronger neighborhoods.
"'Too often, what we've done with the allocation of federal dollars cities get, is just find the poorest, most distressed place, and dump as much as you can in there, and see what happens,' he said. The results were weak, Goldstein explained, because the city would renovate houses no one wanted to buy. The money would be better-spent spurring interest in more attractive neighborhoods."
"As for the rest of the abandoned properties, where it can afford to, the city will still be dealing with the most dangerous structures. Eventually, the plan calls for demolishing the most distressed housing, and holding onto the land until there's scope for large-scale development," explains Yeebo.