‘Vacants to Value’ Successful in Reducing City-Owned Properties

A report evaluating Baltimore City’s Vacants to Value program found that the program was successful in reducing the number of vacant properties owned by the City.

The program, which was launched in 2010, is intended to reduce blight and spur economic activity in city neighborhoods.

As reported in The Baltimore Sun:

The city commissioned the report for $113,930 from the Center for Community Progress, a Flint, Mich.-based nonprofit that focuses on the problem of vacant and abandoned properties. The center worked with the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance-Jacob France Institute and Schaefer Center at University of Baltimore to evaluate the program.

Michael Braverman, the acting commissioner of the Department of Housing & Community Development, said the report showed the program has made progress and is worth maintaining, but he expects Mayor Catherine E. Pugh to put her own stamp on it by expanding demolition activity and pushing to include more city departments in the initiative.

Launched in 2010, Vacants to Value steps up code enforcement in areas where homes are vacant or abandoned and encourages developers to rehabilitate those properties.

The new report showed that while the total number of vacant and abandoned homes has gone up since 2010, the number of vacant properties owned by the city has declined.

There were a total of 16,548 vacant and abandoned homes in the city in 2014, 483 more than in 2010.

Over the same time period the number of city-owned vacant properties declined from 3,282 to 2,620, which Seema Iyer, associate director of the Jacob France Institute, said is a sign of the program’s success.

“When the city owns a property, the Vacants to Value program has demonstrated it’s good at getting it in the hands of people who will bring it to good use,” Iyer said.

Read The Baltimore Sun to learn more.

Tools to reduce blight and revitalize communities will be discussed at the 2017 MACo Summer Conference session entitled, “No Vacancy: Revitalizing Vacant and Blighted Properties.”

The MACo summer conference is August 16-19, 2017 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City Maryland. This year’s theme is “You’re Hired!”.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference: