By Rachael Cardin

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Public housing complexes, that have stood in East Baltimore for decades, came crumbling down on Monday as state and local leaders make way for newer properties in an effort to revitalize the area.

Perkins, Somerset and Oldtown homes will be demolished and newer, high-efficiency units will take their place in the coming years. The Housing Authority of Baltimore City said the 1300 new units will be 76 percent reserved as affordable housing.

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Governor Hogan said this marks a new era for Baltimore. “Today’s demolition effort in this transformative project CORE initiative will now have eliminated 5000 blighted units,” Hogan added.

He added this is also an effort coming from the city and state to clean up Baltimore City streets. Hogan said he spoke to city leaders about this in the past.

“We directed them to expedite the demolition of these blighted properties, where so much criminal activity was taking place and the worst violence was being perpetrated,” Hogan said.

The Housing Authority of Baltimore City relocated 586 homes. They said that was 100 percent of the residents in the Perkins Homes Community.

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Daniel Giles said he has friends who did not get relocated and added these units are a huge staple in the community. “A part of history, a part of Baltimore; these homes have been here since I was a kid,” he said.

Construction on the new and improved units begins in the fall and is set to be complete by 2023. Once the 1300 new units are built, housing staff said the residents of Perkins Homes will get first rights to available spaces and their rent will not increase, as long as they have been good tenants up until this point.

Giles is worried that because the new building will be ‘mixed-income,’ some families might get run out. “The homes that are going to be made are probably outside their income so they can afford them. What good are they to the people who lived here,” Giles said.

City Council President Nick Mosby said the purpose of the new project is to make the area safer and help the residents grow, especially the younger residents.

“There will be little boys and little girls who grow up right here in this area, in this mixed-income environment. When their mom or dad turns that key at night they’ll know they’re going home to a safe warm and comfortable environment,” Mosby said.

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Once Perkins residents have had their pick of the available units, Somerset residents will get to choose a unit and the rest, if there are any left, will be distributed to families on the affordable housing waitlist.

Rachael Cardin