BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Officials in Baltimore say they plan to relocate more than 120 families from West Baltimore’s Gilmor Homes public housing project.
Officials plan to demolish six buildings. Mayor Catherine Pugh says the move is necessary to cut down crime. The mayor said the 120 families would be moved to better housing.
“I’m happy they’re getting ready to tear these down,” said Gilmor Homes resident Theresa Matthews.
Matthews said the heat hasn’t worked in her Gilmore Homes apartment all winter.
The six buildings being demolished are on Spray Court, Vincent Court, and Bruce Court. The proposal gain approval from the Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“We have sat down and had conversations with the community. And we do have plans for the neighborhoods. So we’re very excited about the work,” Mayor Pugh said.
“It’s a project. There’s a lot of drugs being sold in here,” resident Mitrisse Rice said.
The 600-unit complex drew national attention in 2015 when it was the scene of Freddie Gray’s arrest. During that same year, women filed a lawsuit alleging that maintenance workers demanded sexual favors in return for repairing a gas leak and exterminating roaches. Housing officials settled the suit for $8 million.
This is all part of a bigger plan for the city to sell 40 percent of its public housing to private developers to raise money or upgrades and maintenance. The federal government is offering tax credits to developers who buy and renovate public housing.
While Baltimore is the 26th largest city in the country, it’s the fifth most in public housing. More than 11,000 units are in Baltimore. The Housing Authority says renovating or repairing all of them would cost $800 million.