Jim Crow is Alive and Well…

Yesterday I posted an Instagram photo of a piece of graffiti [Name Withheld] did on the top of a building near Clipper Mill, and I had my first Instagram Fight. The photo I posted was this: Jim Crow Runs Bmore. Indeed “he” does, but having this idea, and saying so publicly, sparked a discussion about Read more about Jim Crow is Alive and Well…[…]

Help Create Strong Advocates: Donate Today!

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![…]

Project C.O.R.E Community Meeting June 29

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!

Bandit Signs: The New Blockbusting

“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[…]

2015 and 2016 Outcomes: Thank You!

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![…]

Mayoral Candidate Frank Logan on Housing

Finishing up with the last of the mayoral candidates on their housing positions, here are Frank Logan’s answers to the questionnaire, with no edits: 1. Baltimore City has 30,000+ vacant homes. Do you have a plan for cleaning up the blight that isn’t a rehash or continuation of previous plans? And how do you propose Read more about Mayoral Candidate Frank Logan on Housing[…]

Governor Hogan Announces $700 Million Initiative in Baltimore City

As we’ve read in the news, Maryland has begun a $700 million plan to revitalize blighted neighborhoods in Baltimore City, starting with $9.875 million in funding (FY 2016) for demolishing unsafe vacant homes. After speaking with Audra Harrison, Director of the Office Public Information for the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, I am Read more about Governor Hogan Announces $700 Million Initiative in Baltimore City[…]

TOMORROW: Rally to Save Baltimore Civil Rights History

Bethel AME Church has demolished one of Baltimore’s historic civil rights landmarks, located at 1234 Druid Hill Avenue, and it’s unclear as to whether they want to demolish 1232. Neighbors, community activists, and preservationists are horrified by the lack of respect the church has shown towards these historic homes over the years. They’ve allowed them Read more about TOMORROW: Rally to Save Baltimore Civil Rights History[…]

Mapping Fraudulent Home Purchases

Last month, a federal grand jury indicted Alberic Okou Agodio of Bethesda, MD on multiple charges of wire fraud and identity theft, arising from a $3.9 million mortgage scheme where he and his co-conspirators purchased homes in Baltimore City using false information on mortgage applications, in exchange for kickbacks on each sale. The indictment was Read more about Mapping Fraudulent Home Purchases[…]

Action Needed: Urge Your State Legislators to Support SB0197

Bill Information: This bill would authorize a municipality to establish a Vacant and Blighted Buildings Registry and to require an owner of a vacant building to register it within 30 days after the building becomes vacant under specified circumstances. It would also require a municipality to consider specified factors in determining whether a building is Read more about Action Needed: Urge Your State Legislators to Support SB0197[…]

When Properties Go Into Foreclosure, Who Pays?

Using Q3 2014 foreclosure data reported by the state DHCD, Maryland has held steady as the number-two state for foreclosure filings in 2014, just behind Florida. In fact, foreclosure filings in Maryland have increased since Q2 2014. To put this into context, foreclosure activity has declined nationwide by 15.9% since 2013, yet in Maryland, it Read more about When Properties Go Into Foreclosure, Who Pays?[…]

Developers and Solutions Needed!

Baltimore City has a housing problem (no, not the vacants this time).  One that isn’t unique to Baltimore, but one that nobody seems to be willing to address, at least not publicly. When we talk about affordable housing, it’s generally relative to home purchases or housing for the poor.  Those two things are important, yes.  Read more about Developers and Solutions Needed![…]

Consumer Alert: House-Flipper Comes to Baltimore

I received an email from the Baltimore “Real Estate Investors Association” this morning, inviting me to attend a seminar hosted by Than Merrill, of A&E’s “Flip This House” show, and thought it would be a good time to talk about house flipping and why it’s not all it’s cracked up to be, if you’re an Read more about Consumer Alert: House-Flipper Comes to Baltimore[…]

Slumlord-Owned Property Raided By Police As City Demolishes Another

Police raided a home at 2615 Miles Avenue yesterday, owned by Syed Shah, who also owns the Pizza Boli’s chain.  The raid was part of a joint effort by the Baltimore City Police Department and federal law enforcement. Mr. Shah owns several blighted properties in Remington, where the raid took place, and has earned a Read more about Slumlord-Owned Property Raided By Police As City Demolishes Another[…]

2500 Eutaw Place: A Story of Spite and Abandonment

Many thanks to Reader LR for playing tour guide and snooping around with me! Property Address:  2500 Eutaw Place, Baltimore, MD 21217 Property Owner:  Twenty Five Hundred Associates, 2312 W North Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21216 It’s worth noting that no such company is registered with the state.  Their address traces back to another company that Read more about 2500 Eutaw Place: A Story of Spite and Abandonment[…]

A Most Curious Building: 1001 W Baltimore Street

You can’t help but wonder about this building, and its ownership — it stands next to a random arch that’s not connected to anything, and the building seems old.  Really old.  And out of place — but it has an old sign attached that says “Hee Haw Carryout” and you know at one time, this Read more about A Most Curious Building: 1001 W Baltimore Street[…]

Link Roundup

A Baltimore real estate developer was sentenced to five years in prison for his role in a “pot conspiracy”, according to the City Paper. Two US lawmakers, including Congressman Elijah Cummings from Maryland, have requested more transparency in the recent foreclosure settlement that was intended to compensate homeowners for losses. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s former home Read more about Link Roundup[…]

Reader-Submitted Blight: They Say Time Heals All Wounds…

…but apparently time does not cure housing policy issues in Baltimore City. Property Address:  1120 N Milton Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21213 Property Owner:  2008 DRR-ETS, 3604 Eastern Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21224 Resident Agent for 2008 DRR-ETS:  Disbarred attorney Anthony J. DeLaurentis, DeLaurentis, Reiff, and Reid, 3604 Eastern Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21224 City Council District and Read more about Reader-Submitted Blight: They Say Time Heals All Wounds…[…]

WWJD? 1520 Hollins Street: Owner Demolishing Interior Without Permits, Damaging Home Next Door

Property Address:  1520 Hollins Street, Baltimore, MD 21223 Property Owner:  Jeanne Allert and Christopher Spoonire, same address/3727 Church Road, Ellicott City, MD 21043. City Council District and Contact:  District 9, “Pistol” Pete Welch State Senator:  Verna Jones Rodwell State Delegates:  Keith Haynes, Keiffer Mitchell Jr, Melvin Stukes Neighbors in the community report this owner started Read more about WWJD? 1520 Hollins Street: Owner Demolishing Interior Without Permits, Damaging Home Next Door[…]