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Baltimore to use $39.7 million in American Rescue Plan funds for "blight elimination and prevention"

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Posted at 2:29 PM, Mar 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-11 23:17:18-05

BALTIMORE — Mayor Brandon Scott on Friday announced the conclusion of a 30-day inter-agency review of vacant home issues in Baltimore City.

Although the review panel made several recommendations on how to address the problems, the mayor highlighted these four.

  • Providing funds for capital projects that transform vacant properties into reliable and affordable housing;
  • Addressing blight within the City’s 7 Impact Investment Areas;
  • Improving the City’s permitting process to make it easier to rehabilitate vacant buildings and bring them back into productive use;
  • Preventing vacancies through expanding homeownership opportunities to renters and connecting legacy homeowners and older adults with supports for home upgrades to preserve the integrity of their properties. 

In an attempt to achieve those goals, Scott committed to putting $39.7 million from the American Rescue Plan Act towards blight elimination and prevention.

He claims the funds will help reduce public health disparities caused by environmental hazards, tackle housing instability, and reverse the trend of negative equity in the city’s “Middle Neighborhoods,” where moderate-income, minority residents make up the majority of homeowners.

Scott also announced that $56.3 million in American Rescue Plan Act money would be invested in more affordable housing, specifically in the Coldstream/Homestead/Montebello, Park Heights, Uplands, O’Donnell Heights, and the Perkins-Somerset-Oldtown neighborhoods.

“My plan to provide housing-focused investment supports our long-term economic recovery as outlined in my Pillar goals for Equitable Neighborhood Development and Clean and Healthy Communities, protects seniors and vulnerable residents, and provides a holistic approach to addressing and reducing the number of vacant buildings,” said Scott.

Concerns over vacant homes in Baltimore City reemerged, following the January deaths of three firefighters.

SEE ALSO: Same vacant home that collapsed killing three Baltimore firefighters also caught fire in 2015

Paul Butrim, Kelsey Sadler and Kenneth Lacayo died while battling a blaze at a vacant home on S. Stricker Street.

The problems with vacants have persisted since.

MORE: Two contractors injured after vacant home collapses in Baltimore City

As of this month there are more than 11,000 vacant homes in Baltimore City.