Baltimore is selling homes for $1 each for urban renewal

GOSSIP & RUMORS: Baltimore is selling homes for $1 each for urban renewal

In a bid to breathe life back into its beleaguered neighborhoods, the city of Baltimore is rolling out a groundbreaking initiative: selling boarded-up homes for a mere dollar each, according to Bloomberg.

Mayor Brandon Scott is spearheading this plan, aimed at tackling the city’s longstanding battle with crime and urban decay.

With more than 200 city-owned vacant properties up for grabs, residents willing to roll up their sleeves and restore these homes to their former glory are being offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Still, with nearly 15,000 abandoned properties blighting Baltimore’s landscape as of 2022, according to city records, the road to urban renewal remains long and arduous.

An aerial of Baltimore. Christopher Boswell –
Abandoned row houses in Baltimore. jonbilous –

Baltimore boasts one of the highest crime rates in the United States. The probability of falling victim to either violent or property-related offenses in this city stands at 1 in 21. This crime rate surpasses that of communities across the spectrum, ranging from small towns to sprawling metropolises.

This $1 measure, greenlit by a city board last Wednesday, echoes the spirit of Baltimore’s historic “dollar house” program of the 1970s, which saw homesteaders revitalizing communities one house at a time.

Newark, New Jersey, has dabbled in a similar scheme, underscoring the urgency of innovative solutions to combat urban blight.

However, this time around, the focus is squarely on individual buyers who get to pay that $1 sum. For developers interested in scooping up a home, they need to pay $3,000.

A narrow old road between rows of homes in the historic Northern Baltimore neighborhood of Hampden. Andrew Kazmierski –

To sweeten the deal, generous grants of $50,000 are on the table to assist with renovations, provided recipients secure pre-approval for construction loans, reports

Concerns linger, though, with some nonprofits urging the city to set safeguards against a wholesale buyout by developers, a move that could price out low-income residents and exacerbate gentrification pressures.

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