BALTIMORE — The city owns a half dozen rowhomes in the 900 block of North Calhoun Street in West Baltimore, and any one of them could represent the American Dream for Angela LaPrade who works two to three jobs at a time just to pay her rent.
“It’s hard for me to buy a house, and because my son was trying to get custody of my grandson, we had to move into a better neighborhood. You know how that is, because where I was living was drug-infested,” said LaPrade. “So moving into a better neighborhood, the rent went up. It was extremely high.”
City Council President Nick Mosby has unveiled a proposal, which includes dollar homes, to help people like LaPrade and to help turn around the flight and blight in Baltimore.
“We’re saying for the folks in those communities that are leaving and have been leaving the past couple of decades, because they’re dealing with crime. They’re dealing with blight. They’re dealing with all of the issues associated with the disproportionate amount of disinvestment that we’ve seen in those communities for over the past few decades,” said Mosby. “Why not give them an opportunity to buy a home that they can afford, that they can grow generational wealth, they can ultimately help us bring back out city?”
For a single buck invested, the plan would allow up to $10,000 in grants towards down payments, closing costs and to reduce the cost of their loan.
It also would provide up to $25,000 grants for emergencies, costly repairs and accessibility upgrades, and those grants would be available to others already living in impoverished neighborhoods.
“In most places, you buy a house and over 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, you can pull money out to fix your roof or put new windows in,” said Mosby. “Many folks in these communities that have been under-served for far too long, they don’t have that advantage.”
Another aspect of Mosby’s plan would help prevent seniors from losing their homes. It would offer grants up to five thousand dollars to those facing foreclosure due to reverse mortgages.
The projected cost of the plan is $200 million dollars, which Mosby would like to see come out of the city’s windfall from the American Rescue Plan, which Mayor Brandon Scott holds the reigns on so it would require getting him onboard.