stronger advocacy = a stronger baltimore
We work with individual residents and community groups to address blight and other property-related issues, especially landlord/tenant issues, in order to create safer, more stable neighborhoods across Baltimore City.
Despite the occasional success story over the past 6 or 7 years, vacant property has remained a problem in Baltimore City for decades – most recently, this problem has been exacerbated by the large number of foreclosures, properties in pre-foreclosure, and properties that haven’t hit the court docket yet. The problem is unlikely to go away or fix itself in any sustainable way for quite some time.
Until we address the underlying issues/causes for so many of our abandoned homes, and substandard rental properties, we will fail to stem the tide of neglect. All the tax credits, TIFs, PILOTs, and other financial incentives aren’t going to lure responsible developers into an area that is rife with violent crime, drugs, and blocks of abandonment. Instead, negligent property owners move in (as has been the trend in Baltimore, Detroit, and Cleveland) and perform the most meager of repairs to homes – often without permits, and therefore no inspections – and then rent them to people who feel they have little to no recourse when something bad happens. As a result, the rate of asthma, lead paint poisoning, violent crime, fatal fires, and other health/safety issues are disproportionately higher in neighborhoods with a large number of vacant homes.
Please help our efforts by making a tax-deductible contribution today, by visiting the "Donate" link at the top of the page.
Housing News and Solutions
In the course of speaking to community groups, the issue of nuisance properties comes up a lot. Sometimes the complaints are fairly minor — trash, noise, etc., and sometimes the complaints turn into a story of a community being terrorized by the residents of one property, one with an owner or landlord who does nothing Read more about Justice for Neighbors in Southwest Baltimore[…]
The Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland is hosting a free legal clinic for seniors where you can receive legal advice about your water or gas and electric bills. Date and Time: Friday, December 9, 2016 Location: Northwest Community Action Center, 3939 Reisterstown Road, Baltimore, MD 21215 The clinic is open to Baltimore residents, age Read more about Free Utility Bill Legal Clinic for Baltimore City Seniors[…]
In Maryland you can participate in early voting — why not get your ballot in without having to stand in long lines? Early voting ends November 3, and Election Day is November 8. For Baltimore City residents, the following Early Voting Sites are open from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM: Westside Skill Center 4501 Edmondson Read more about Early Voting Begins October 27![…]
The Baltimore City Council will vote on an amendment* to Transform Baltimore TODAY that will: Forbid new tavern licenses or alcohol sales within 300 feet of a residence, school, church, park, or other tavern or liquor store. This makes any new liquor stores or bars illegal as a part of a new mixed use development, Read more about Amendment to Baltimore’s New Zoning Code: OPPOSE[…]
We’ve long been champions for being proactive through public policy that can help to prevent the downward financial spiral faced by so many middle-income families across our city, and have found that high rental housing costs in the Baltimore metro region are the the reason why so many people are having difficulty getting a handle Read more about Moderate Income Housing Tax Credit: Support[…]
I’m starting to work on a new project, and need help with fundraising. This project is a joint effort between Housing Policy Watch and the Southwest Baltimore Charter School, an elementary-middle school located in the Pigtown neighborhood of Baltimore, and the neighborhood’s only school for students in grades six through eight. Two sixth grade teachers Read more about Help Create Strong Advocates: Donate Today![…]
The Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland is hosting a free legal clinic for seniors where you can receive legal advice about your water or gas and electric bills. Date and Time: Wednesday, September 28, 2016 Location: Southeast Community Action Center, 3411 Bank Street, Baltimore, MD 21224 The clinic is open to Baltimore residents, age Read more about Free Utility Bill Legal Clinic for Seniors[…]
The Charm City Circulator, a free shuttle system that connects many of Baltimore’s neighborhoods to downtown is in jeopardy, and your help is needed. The Banner Route, which runs from Locust Point (including Fort McHenry, a popular tourist destination) to downtown, could be eliminated. The extension to the Purple Route, from Penn Station to Charles Read more about Contact Your City Council Representative: Proposed Changes to CCC Routes are Bad for Baltimore[…]
From the Baltimore Department of Planning: We’re very lucky to have strong ties with Baltimore’s communities through the Baltimore Commission on Sustainability and various other forums and partnerships. But we know that one of the best ways to connect with people and learn what they’re doing and what they need is to empower experts and Read more about Baltimore Sustainability Plan Survey[…]
Maryland residents, the Homeowners Property Tax Credit deadline of September 1 is fast approaching — you may be eligible to save on your property taxes, but you must file every year to get the credit! The credit is based on household income, so please go here to view the eligibility criteria and form you’ll need Read more about Homeowners Property Tax Credit Deadline: September 1[…]
Please attend this important meeting regarding vacants and the implementation of Project C.O.R.E — the city/state partnership to demolish vacant homes. June 29, 6:00-8:00 PM Edmondson-Westside High School, 501 N Athol Avenue, 21229 Let the city know where you think we need more demolition, stabilization, or other strategies to address the city’s 30,000 vacant homes!
“I wish they wouldn’t post those here, they make our neighborhood look trashy.” I hear this a lot about bandit signs — those “WE BUY HOUSES” signs that pop up like toadstools after a storm. And yes, they do make a neighborhood look trashy. But even worse — they’re the new tool for blockbusting. For Read more about Bandit Signs: The New Blockbusting[…]
The Renters’ Tax Credit is currently only available to low-income and/or senior renters. However, our legislators did do something positive on this front during this year’s legislative session — the credit has been increased from $750 to $1000. HB340 was signed into law by Governor Hogan in May. If you think you might qualify for Read more about Maryland Renters’ Tax Credit: Deadline September 1[…]
Successes and Outcomes: A Look at 2015 and 2016 I wanted to take a moment and update everyone on our progress. As donors, supporters, partners, and friends, I also want to take a moment to say thank you for everything, as none of these successes would have happened without your advice, financial support, and hard Read more about 2015 and 2016 Outcomes: Thank You![…]
The Problem Baltimore’s current affordable housing crisis is yet another fire our government has to put out — despite it smoldering for years, turning into a full blaze right around the same time as the housing bubble and subsequent “bust”, leaving thousands in foreclosure and unable to afford steadily rising rents. Many cities are faced Read more about Putting Out the Affordable Housing Fire[…]
People love data. Numbers. They paint a different, more succinct picture than words sometimes, and they can be turned into maps, infographics, and other visuals that have a bigger, faster impact. However, numbers can be manipulated in a way that allows governments and corporations to create policies that keep poor people away from things that Read more about The New Redlining[…]
With all of the recent discussion around collapsing vacants, negligent property owners, and the city’s tax sale system, there has been a lot of hand-wringing (and rightfully so, as someone was killed the other day when a vacant collapsed on a man while he was sitting in his car) and mutterings about tax sale foreclosures Read more about Solution: Close the Tax Sale Loophole[…]
It’s always interesting to ask a random group of people the same questions and see what you get back. I guarantee at the very least, you won’t be bored. Hopefully you’ll even be enlightened at the end of the process. Candidate surveys and politics in general are two things I tend to stay away from, Read more about The Housing Questionnaires: Lessons Learned[…]
Three candidates, including the incumbent City Councilwoman for District 14, responded to the housing questionnaire. Two of the candidate response pages are linked below: Mary Pat Clarke (incumbent) David Harding One candidate, Tom Boyce, sent me an email that simply said “Dear Carol, I don’t know.” in response to the questionnaire. When I replied, asking Read more about District 14 City Council Candidates on Housing[…]
David Harding was the second District 14 candidate to respond to the questionnaire. His answers are below, with no edits: 1. Baltimore City has 30,000+ vacant homes. How do you intend to clean up blight in your district that isn’t a rehash or continuation of previous plans? And how do you propose to pay for Read more about District 14 City Council Candidate David Harding on Housing[…]