January 17, 2014 by Baltimore Slumlord Watch
It was five years ago today that I wrote the very first post for this blog. Back then, I had absolutely no idea the project would continue beyond a few months…maybe a year. I didn’t understand the problem of vacancy in Baltimore — how bad it really was, what caused it, or anything much beyond the fact that there was a nasty property in my neighborhood that my neighbors kept complaining about, with no results.
Being a communications person, I knew that social media had a much bigger impact than sitting in a community meeting
bitching about a problem month after month preaching to the choir. So I figured I’d throw a photo or two plus the owner’s info to the winds of the internet and let them land where they may. Happily, the property was cleaned up by the owner shortly thereafter, and then a new tenant moved in not long after that. I think it took about two years total from blight to occupied. Not bad!
In the meantime, I started receiving emails from people in other parts of the city, asking if they could get help with a blighted property on their block…and then more people…and even more. It just kept going and going — there are now well over 1,000 posts on the blog, and I’d say probably 80-90% of them are about individual properties. With tens of thousands of vacants in Baltimore, I’d say there’s enough work to last a few more years.
Thanks to all of my readers — old and new. Here’s to another five years of raising a ruckus, shaping housing policy, and making Baltimore a healthier, safer city — for all residents.