Haven’t done one of these in a while, so there are lots of random interesting links!
Oh, the things people do in and around vacants…don’t let your kids read this one.
The Chicago City Council approved a measure that offers renters protection if their apartment building goes into foreclosure.
While many residents are pleased with the project at Uplands, in Baltimore, not all are happy with the restrictions.
So far this year, Baltimore has seen 10 fire fatalities, more than in all of 2012. The man who died in this fire in South Baltimore was one of them.
Lots of arson in Detroit, including this vacant fire. I guess the arsonist wanted to make sure it REALLY REALLY burned.
I remember Gary, Indiana being a mess when I was a kid — apparently decades later, it still is. For many of the same reasons that plague Baltimore.
The battle continues over the proposed Royal Farms in Hamilton, according to this article from Baltimore Brew.
A Baltimore Sun letter to the editor regarding the city’s $107 million tax giveaway — very well done, Jeff Singer from Baltimore.
It’s nice to see property owners and developers in other cities can come up with ways to creatively use vacant properties. Turning them into homes that aren’t over-improved, and renting them for a reasonable, appropriate rent, is a sure way to build stronger neighborhoods. Kudos to this Cleveland developer!
Richmond’s 9th City Council District is apparently a blighted eyesore, thanks to city-owned blighted property and vacant lots. Hmmm…
Some Chicago kids may have to walk past even more blighted vacants on their way to school, and it’s not making the parents happy. Can’t say I blame them!
Milwaukee Fox 6 reports that police are seeing an uptick in scrappers stealing siding from homes, particularly in areas with a lot of vacants.
Shelterforce has been on a recent roll lately with the good blog posts. This one taught me a new word: “Metropollyanna”. Don’t be one of those people.
Also from Shelterforce — do artists have a place in the public planning process?
Nice to see this vacant building in Station North will finally get a facelift after so many years of neglect.
Changes coming for BCFD firefighters — the mayor’s budget calls for longer hours, and a loss of 100 to 300 positions due to attrition (depending on which media source you read, the number changes). This equates to longer hours for what amounts to less pay. Unfair and unwarranted, how about giving other city employees the same rotten deal, not just the ones who are charged with saving lives?
A sad commentary on public housing in Baltimore.
More suspected arson fires in Detroit, firefighters “pushed to the limits”.
The fight over the city’s new casino project continues.
The Atlantic Cities examines why skyrocketing rents are actually bad for the economy.
A Maryland attorney was indicted on nine counts of wire fraud, stemming from his real estate investment scheme, according to the FBI.
Speaking of fraud, Stewart Sachs, a slumlord we’ve written about several times, has now been charged with money laundering — specifically, a drug dealer’s loan payments. And they say slumlords don’t commit other crimes…
A bit of drama over at the Annapolis Housing Authority — they’re not sure whether Carl Snowden, a former city alderman, will be allowed to remain chairman of the Housing Authority’s board after he’s released from jail.
The Baltimore Brew asks whether we should house the homeless in the city’s many vacants — what do you think?
While the comments flew after this story in the Brew about liquor stores, Pennsylvania was busy working to end its stranglehold on liquor sales, while in Baltimore…we want the government to have even more control.
Good news-bad news in Cleveland: The number of vacant homes has increased, despite a decrease in foreclosures.
Milwaukee has decided to use a new strategy to beautify its vacant buildings: artistic boardups.
Good news for Detroit, too: Lead poisoning in children has dropped 70 percent, though you have to wonder — have property owners gotten better, or have more people simply left…so there are less children living in lead paint-filled homes?
Lots of fires and injuries as a result of fires this week. A sampling:
Saturday’s two-alarmer on Falkirk Road forced two people to jump for safety, according to WBAL.
Two firefighters were injured in a fire on W. North Avenue, one received first-degree burns, the other received second-degree burns. Neither were determined to be life-threatening.
BCFD also responded to a fire in a convenience store, in the 500 block of N Milton Avenue.
Despite their loyal service to the city by the rank and file, BPD and BCFD pensions are still being blamed for the City’s financial woes, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Detroit saw multiple vacant fires last Wednesday night, one neighbor says she’s had enough.
Speaking of Detroit, two children, ages 5 and 1 spent the night in a vacant home with the bodies of their murdered mothers and one other person, according to CBS News. The women were allegedly shot by one of the women’s ex-boyfriend.
Good news for one Cleveland neighborhood: 50 vacant homes in Slavic Village will be renovated for a cost of approximately $40,000 each, to be sold at a small profit. A smart strategy to redevelop a neighborhood — perhaps Baltimore should adopt a similar strategy, as $300K rowhomes in marginal neighborhoods don’t seem to be pulling in the homeowners.
Interesting opinion piece by Brent Larkin from the Cleveland Plain Dealer — the demolition of homes in empty neighborhoods is the right solution for East Cleveland.
As you can imagine, folks in Cleveland are tired of slumlords, too. And they had some words for an absentee slumlord who lives in Florida.
In New York, an attorney was convicted on multiple counts of mortgage fraud, but the NY Attorney General lost a few counts, despite testimony from the attorney’s employees.
An office building in downtown Baltimore will be converted to apartments — however, it looks like no affordable units are planned.
ABC2 News reports that an Owings Mills Man will be spending the next 25 years in prison for his role in a mortgage fraud scheme.
Even more apartments coming to downtown Baltimore, according to Steve Kilar at the Baltimore Sun. It’s unclear whether any of the buildings will include workforce housing.
A rather bizarre interview with the CEO of Wells Fargo about the economy, mortgage fraud, and board conflicts.
DSNews and CoreLogic report that mortgage fraud is on the rise again, with increased short sale fraud expected.
Howard Park is still waiting for their ShopRite Supermarket — what’s the holdup?
Interesting to see that Johns Hopkins is pledging millions of dollars to fix up the neighborhoods surrounding its Homewood campus — what about all of the lead paint-filled blighted homes owned by the Bloomberg School of Public Health near Johns Hopkins Hospital in East Baltimore?
Beware the “sovereign citizen” selling a vacant house. It’s probably not his to sell.
Thieves in Cleveland have been targeting vacant homes — stealing appliances, copper wire — basically anything of value.
The Detroit Free Press did an excellent series on keeping schoolchildren safe on their route to school — something most people take for granted. Unfortunately, in some major cities — kids have an unsafe walk, passing vacant homes that are a magnet for criminal activity.
Travers and Tremayne Johnson, two brothers who were accused of setting a dog on fire, were found not guilty by a Baltimore jury.
Calgary restaurant owner forced workers to live in filth, fined by the provincial court.
From idea to working app in just 48 hours — a crack team in Omaha came up with some great apps, including “Slumlord Next Door” as a way to let residents rate sanitation/cleanliness of restaurants, rental properties.
BCFD isn’t meeting NFPA standards for response times, according to an article by Baltimore Brew — it’s time for the city government to keep all fire stations and fire companies open.
Alabama real estate “investor” Lawrence B. Stacy plead guilty to municipal auction bid rigging — he will be a guest of the Feds for 6 months, and pay a $10,000 fine.
Did you know Maryland offers an income tax credit for low-income/elderly renters? It follows the premise that renters pay property taxes as part of their rent, and therefore should be allowed an opportunity to recoup some of that money. The deadline for filing each year is September 1.
The past few years have seen an uptick in violent crimes against realtors. The most horrific of these crimes occurred in 2010 against a realtor named Vivian Martin in Youngstown, OH — she was found murdered in the kitchen of a burning vacant home. Another reason why municipalities need to combat the growing problem of vacants as a venue for crime.
HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announced last Friday the distribution of $42 million in grants to housing counseling agencies, calling the programs “indispensible”.
People ask me all the time why I “hate Baltimore”. I don’t hate Baltimore. Seriously, would YOU spend almost all of your free time in the neighborhoods I walk around, documenting blighted vacants, taking risks with your personal safety (albeit small risks) for a city you hate? Of course not. You’d simply move away, as so many of my friends and neighbors have done. What I do despise, however, is the phony head-in-the-sand mentality I come up against — a combination of newer residents who are merely echoing the nonsense they were told by their realtor, city officials who have a vested interest in looking the other way, or long-time community association folks who don’t want to admit their 20-year Plan A hasn’t worked….in 20 years. Phony boosterism sucks — and here’s why. The last paragraph says it all, so you can skip ahead if you don’t want to read the whole thing.
Nerd Alert: I love data. Especially crime data. I’ll bet I’m not alone…
Appraisers, lenders, and investors seem to be routinely inflating home values prior to foreclosure, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
One Brookings economist estimates the number of unemployed workers in the US to be around 10 million — how to fix the problem? He suggests the government should subsidize new hires.
Baltimore’s Housing Director Paul Graziano continues to duck and dodge when it comes to the health and well-being of city children who live in public housing. How long are we going to tolerate this, Baltimore?
Two Ohio lawmakers have introduced the Restore Our Neighborhoods Act of 2012, which would result in billions of dollars that municipalities could use to demolish blighted neighborhoods. Will be interesting to see if Maryland representatives will vote for or against.
Chicago’s answer to Baltimore’s Stanley Rochkind?
Want a vacant home in Buffalo, NY? Move it, and it’s yours.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee understands the need to stabilize his city’s middle class through housing.
The Cleveland Fed says we need to change housing finance at the policy level, in order to slow speculative real estate transactions — hey Cleveland, we agree!
Delegate Maggie McIntosh (D, District 43) says we shouldn’t reward landlords who ignore lead paint regulations — and her bill would give coverage to smaller landlords who can’t afford the outcomes of costly lawsuits. Sounds like a win to us!
Shrinking housing inventory in Baltimore isn’t because of higher sales volume, but disgruntled sellers.
Part of the Roland Park Shopping Center is structurally unsound and needs fixing.
One in every nine housing units in Baltimore City is vacant, according to an article by Jamie Smith-Hopkins in the Sun.
Think you have what it takes to run one of the most despised quasi-public agencies in Baltimore?
You can bet that housing will be a hot issue for the upcoming elections — especially in hard-hit states like Ohio.
A former mayoral candidate in Jacksonville, Florida was arrested with four others in connection with an illegal rental scheme.