City’s Review of Vacant Properties Complete, Mayor Announces $100 Million ARPA Commitment Towards Housing Equity
Friday Mar 11th, 2022
Scott Administration Directs Funds to Protect Residents, Prevent Blight, Create Affordable Housing Initiatives, and Implement Vacancy Recommendations
Today, Mayor Brandon M. Scott, alongside Congressman Kweisi Mfume, Chief Administrative Officer Christopher Shorter, Deputy Mayor of Community and Economic Development Ted Carter, Department of Housing and Community Development Commissioner Alice Kennedy, Chief Recovery Officer Shamiah Kerney of the Mayor's Office of Recovery Programs, and numerous other partners and community members, committed $100 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding towards housing initiatives designed to protect residents, prevent blight, create affordable housing initiatives, and implement vacancy recommendations made through Mayor Scott’s 30-day directive to address Baltimore’s vacant housing stock.
This announcement marks the largest ARPA allocation by the Scott Administration and brings financial support for housing and homeless initiatives together to nearly $200 million to tackle housing insecurity.
The COVID-19 public health emergency continues to exacerbate the economic and housing hardship faced by City residents. Low- and moderate-income households face particular hardships, including higher rates of housing insecurity, loss of income due to the pandemic, and disparate health outcomes. Supports for communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and its related negative economic conditions are prioritized under the American Rescue Plan Act.
“Today’s announcement builds on our efforts to increase housing stability by focusing on protecting Baltimore homeowners and renters, preserving housing gains and preventing blight, and supporting those projects that are primed to create pathways to equity and neighborhood transformation,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “My plan to provide housing-focused investment supports our long-term economic recovery as outlined in my Pillar goals for Equitable Neighborhood Development and Clean and Healthy Communities, protects seniors and vulnerable residents, and provides a holistic approach to addressing and reducing the number of vacant buildings.”
Mayor Scott previously announced a combined $90.4 million investment for Homeless Services – $75 million in ARPA funds and $15.4 million in HOME ARPA funds – to help those experiencing housing instability.
This allocation covers three types of housing investments:
- Strategic Capital Investments ($56.3 million): The need for affordable housing developments across the City has only increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. These projects will support community development and affordable housing units in Coldstream/Homestead/Montebello, Park Heights, Uplands, O’Donnell Heights, and the Perkins-Somerset-Oldtown Transformation Plan area. This ARPA allocation leverages significant private sector investment in each of these critical projects – which will result in completed projects by the end of Mayor Scott’s first term.
- Blight Elimination and Prevention ($39.7 million): These programs and projects will advance the Mayor’s vision to address the City’s vacant housing stock, help reduce public health disparities caused by environmental hazards, and tackle housing instability. They also help reverse the trend of negative equity in the city’s “Middle Neighborhoods,” where moderate-income, Black and Brown residents make up the majority of homeowners.
- Resident Protection and Anti-Displacement ($4 million): Workers in low-income households were more likely to lose their job or see pay reductions during the COVID-19 public health emergency. These projects provide legal services and utility assistance to prevent eviction and displacement to mitigate housing instability with low-income populations.
An exhaustive list of the projects funded is attached as an addendum to this release.
On January 31, 2022, Mayor Scott gave City agencies 30 days to provide City Administrator Chris Shorter with a full accounting of efforts to reduce the number of vacant properties and provide recommendations to accelerate those efforts. Residents can find a complete list of these recommendations here.
In support of this directive, this ARPA allocation directly targets recommendations made by the City’s internal agency review on how to better address Baltimore’s vacant housing stock by:
- Providing funds for capital projects that transform vacant properties into reliable and affordable housing;
- Addressing blight within the City’s 7 Impact Investment Areas;
- Improving the City’s permitting process to make it easier to rehabilitate vacant buildings and bring them back into productive use;
- Preventing vacancies through expanding homeownership opportunities to renters and connecting legacy homeowners and older adults with supports for home upgrades to preserve the integrity of their properties.
“Safe and affordable housing is a cornerstone of strong communities. We fought to pass the American Rescue Plan so our cities and communities could advance important local priorities like this. As we continue to move forward in our pandemic recovery, I’m pleased that Mayor Scott is investing significant federal American Rescue Plan funds in making our city a more accessible and affordable place to live and work. Exactly one year to the day since President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law, this initiative is yet another example of how it is positioning us for a brighter future for years to come,” said United States Senator Chris Van Hollen.
"These programs directly advance strategies of the Mayor’s Action Plan, like investing in formerly redlined neighborhoods, supporting legacy residents, and increasing our population with new Black and Brown, middle-income residents,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Ted Carter. “We are confident this holistic approach will revitalize communities that have long been neglected.”
“What the Mayor’s ARPA plan does is infuse funding into several existing programs and projects, providing support for these efforts to achieve a greater scale of impact and better deal with the economic hardship and housing instability caused by the pandemic,” said Housing Commissioner Alice Kennedy. “This set of coordinated strategies will help us address the dual challenges of disinvestment and middle- and moderate-income flight from Baltimore’s neighborhoods.”
The Mayor’s Office of Recovery Programs will direct funds to the Baltimore City Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD), the Department of Planning (DOP), the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC) Live Baltimore, the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement (MONSE) and the Board of Municipal & Zoning Appeals (BMZA).
About the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Programs
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provided $641 million to the City of Baltimore in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency and its negative economic impacts. Mayor Brandon M. Scott has established the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Programs to transparently and effectively administer this funding on behalf of the City.
For the most up to date information regarding proposals, funded projects, and project progress visit our ARPA Reporting center at arp.baltimorecity.gov/dashboard.