BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Some Baltimore neighbor landscapes are changing as the city moves forward with its “Vacant to Value” housing initiative.
Political reporter Pat Warren reports the plan is getting national attention.
The battle against urban blight is taking place in cities across the country. Vacant homes are either torn down or restored.
Baltimore’s “Vacant to Value” housing initiative was featured in Tuesday’s New York Times.
“We’ve also gotten international attention. We’re the North America finalist for the Financial Times and we’re up for the International Award,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
Mayor Rawlings-Blake’s goal to add 100,000 families to the city in 10 years starts with a place to live.
Teacher Cynite Cooke is one of those success stories.
“It helped me buy my new house,” Cooke said. “I’m just a country girl from Texas. I didn’t want to stay that long. I wanted to come and leave but now not only is my heart here, working with the students, but also my home is here.”
Joan Stanley has lived in the neighborhood for 30 years.
“We’re coming together as a community for real. I like it,” Stanley said.
The city has 20,000 vacant buildings and lots–just one of many challenges residents face in a cash-strapped economy.
“I don’t mind the complaints. I’m motivated to make Baltimore better,” Rawlings-Blake said. “It’s not always about getting the congratulations. Sometimes you gotta hear the complaints, too. I’m fine with that as long as people see the progress.”
Most neighbors would probably agree that what’s even more satisfying than seeing vacant buildings come down is watching new residents move in.
This is the third anniversary of “Vacants to Value.”
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