Residents on board with bringing back Dollar House Program

Homes for $1, 1% interest loans to rehab homes
Posted at 11:21 PM, Oct 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-25 23:23:20-04

Thursday, Baltimore City leaders met to talk about a program that would allow you to buy a house for one dollar if you agree to fix it up and live in it.

RELATED: Baltimore City Council debating to bring back dollar house program

Supporters of the Dollar House Program hope it could create more neighborhoods like Otterbein, the now flourishing neighborhood that started the initiative decades ago. 

"One of the things that are in addition to what was before with the older house program that didn't exist then, one of the things we're trying to do is possible training in the trades, apprenticeship for some of these young men," said Tyrone Bost, president of the organization HOMES and a proponent of the reboot of the program.

Young men and women who Bost says need the support most.

"A big component of crime and murders is the fact that there's high poverty in these areas," he continued.

Areas all over the city, with their crumbling facade and boarded up doors in lower income areas; ideal for the Dollar House Program.

"There's a lack of affordable housing in Baltimore City you have houses for $1200 a month in the hood, that's too much," Bost told ABC2.

The average size home is 1200 square feet, with rehab costs at $100-$120 a square foot, that's $120,000 at least to make run down homes liveable again.

"Your mortgage would end up being about $300 a month at one percent interest; most people can afford that," said Bost.

The resolution to bring back the program was penned by Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke who says the city could redirect funding earmarked for demolition of vacant homes into those one percent interest loans to rehab them, costing the buyer a dollar for the title.

"It's a great opportunity to give people a chance to own a home. It also gives people a really good platform for economic empowerment," resident, Timoth Moffitt, told ABC2.

But the potential cherry on top?  Job creation for those who can't get work in low income neighborhoods and the impact on the city's work force and economy.

"We can be training these people so when these big projects like Port Covington that could be a feeder system," said Bost.

"When people have ownership of their home, it builds retention and it gives people a sense of belonging and a sense of their own," said Baltimore resident, Dana Benson.

It's not clear which homes will be included in the program should it be revitalized.    Those in favor of it say it's cheaper for the city to rehab the houses than demolish them.

But the challenge for city leaders now is how to pay for it.