Baltimore City Council debating to bring back dollar house program

BALTIMORE (WMAR) - Turning vacant buildings into homes, and providing people with well-paying jobs, for a dollar?

That's the goal of the dollar house program and Wednesday the Baltimore City Council is debating bringing it back.

RELATED: Push to bring back Baltimore's 'dollar home' program

According to the council bill introduced by Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, the program found success in the 1980's but started in the 1970's. 

The dollar house program started in 1973, offering vacant homes to buyers for a dollar. The buyers would then promise to refurbish and live in the home for a certain period of time.

Baltimore wants to partner with construction jobs and apprenticeship programs to get new homeowners valuable experience, which would ideally lead to jobs paying for those renovations.

But the housing commissioner says there are holes in the program this time around.

He says Baltimore has more than 16,000 vacant homes, triple the amount in the 1980's. Also, the cities population is down by a quarter of a million people compared to when the program first started. 

The housing commissioner is also concerned about money being taken away from the demolition budget to fund this program.

The city council meeting is Wednesday night at 5:00, at city hall in the Du Burns Council Chamber. 

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