Tagged: Pigtown

914 Ramsay Street

Property Address: 914 Ramsay Street, Baltimore, MD 21230

Property Owner: Raminder Gill, same address

City Council District and Contact:  District 10, Ed Reisinger

State Senator:  Catherine Pugh

State Delegates:  Barbara Robinson, Frank Conaway, Jr., Antonio Hayes

This property is currently the subject of a tax foreclosure, initiated by Heidi Kenny‘s law firm. As a result, the owner has ceased doing any work on the property, and all permits are now expired.

914 Ramsay Street

914 Ramsay Street


A Small Victory: 1101 Nanticoke Street

Finally, after four years of court hearings and inaction on the part of the former owner, 1101 Nanticoke Street has a new owner — Karen Gross, a Baltimore realtor. Hopefully she will do something with the home and it can be sold, alleviating the nightmare the former owners caused.

What’s Your 2015 Housing Resolution?

Reposted from Housing Policy Watch:

People make much of the idea of “two cities” in Baltimore — one, affluent and white, and the other is usually labeled as poor and black. This view leaves out the third group: the folks, black and white, who earn around the city’s median income of $40,000 or so, and have solid potential to be upwardly mobile over the long term. You know — the working families who don’t consider themselves rich or poor, just…somewhere in the middle trying to get by. They don’t qualify for housing assistance, and even if they did — they probably wouldn’t apply (who has the time to hold down a full-time job, run a household, raise kids or take care of elderly parents or an ailing spouse, and commit to the arduous process of applying for social services?), and there isn’t a whole lot of moderate-income housing for them anyway.

It’s not like I’m saying anything I haven’t said a million times before, and won’t keep saying  — but I have to wonder why, in a city with so much potential safe and affordable housing — we have so little of it.

One of the reasons is the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This is the agency in charge of setting what they deem a “Fair Market Rent (FMR) for every Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). Our MSA includes Towson, Columbia, and all the other wealthy suburbs in between. The idea is to set the FMR at a level that would allow low- and very low-income renters who receive Section 8/Housing Choice Vouchers to move from their neighborhoods of concentrated poverty into areas of prosperity (and higher rents). This is problematic on multiple levels:

  • Most poor people, through either a lack of means or a desire to stay near jobs, family, and other support systems, don’t actually move far away if at all. It’s hard to leave family support and friends, particularly if a low-income family relies on family and friends for childcare and/or transportation. Also, many wealthier suburbs (and even wealthier city neighborhoods) don’t have adequate or reliable public transit, making it hard for low-income families to access jobs, childcare, doctors, or shopping.
  • Because the FMR is based on a geographic area that includes wealthier suburbs, the FMR is unreasonably high in many of our moderate- and low-income neighborhoods. To ask someone earning the median, or just on either side of the median, to pay $1250 a month (approximate FMR for a two-bedroom house or apartment in the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson MSA) without housing assistance in many of our neighborhoods drives out the stabilizing force that moderate-income working families bring. It also drives away their current and future tax dollars, and consumer spending.

Many of our city’s neighborhoods, despite news and other reports to the contrary, are either stagnating, or they’re becoming even more concentrated areas of poverty, as more prosperous neighborhoods receive development projects and other attention from the State and City governments. (See concentrated poverty map again, to reiterate this point.) Oftentimes, this is due to investors snapping up cheap and foreclosed homes to flip and turn into Section 8 rentals. In Pigtown, one LLC flipped one block of homes to another LLC, for around $19,000 each, further destabilizing home prices. Inexplicably, one of the homes is now on the market for $174,000, when many homes on surrounding streets are on the market for far less. How long before this block of homes is turned into Section 8 rentals, if they don’t sell? Turning them into rentals those with moderate incomes could afford would be the better course of action — it would add stability to a floundering neighborhood, and could potentially raise property values as these renters turn into buyers.

From a 2003 National Housing Institute/Shelterforce article:

During the past decade, speculators saw an opportunity in Patterson Park – and in the loopholes of the voucher program. They found they could snap up vacant rowhouses for as little as $10,000, give them a fresh coat of paint, pass Section 8 inspection, and start to rake in vouchers worth $700 a month, much more than the rentals would be worth on the private market. As groups of out-of-town investors got in on the deal, Section 8 families flooded into as many as 700 of Patterson Park’s rowhouses. The neighborhood became visibly poorer and shabbier as the landlords ignored maintenance. “The people buying here were not experienced property managers,” Rutkowski says. “They were accountants and lawyers in the suburbs.”

While Patterson Park has improved considerably since 2003, it still struggles with investor-owned low-income housing. Something that could have alleviated current and past problems — mixed-income housing, and the stability that moderate-income earners bring to the table.

Some encouraging news was reported in this morning’s Baltimore Sun: One development near the biopark in West Baltimore will have 20% of its planned units set aside for moderate- and low-income tenants. Whether this plan comes to fruition or not — that remains to be seen.

Making affordable housing for working families a top priority of City and State government needs to happen. Our city cannot afford to be divided in three — it needs to come together to find real solutions that aren’t tied to nice-sounding theories and campaign contributions. Solid investments in our neighborhoods, a commitment to making Baltimore a liveable city, and reworking of HUD’s FMR would be a great start. Let’s make this happen in 2015 — together.

Update: 1117 Carroll Street

And now the house was set on fire. (Updated December 19, 2014.)

1117 Carroll Street, the morning of December 19, 2014

1117 Carroll Street, the morning of December 19, 2014


This home was originally posted in 2011, and sadly — conditions have gotten worse.

Property Address: 1117 Carroll Street, Baltimore, MD 21230

Property Owner: Irene Davis, same address. Interesting to note, in 2009, Heidi Kenny (of ground rent and tax foreclosure fame) filed to foreclose on this home, yet the case was subsequently dismissed.)

City Council District and Contact:  District 10, Ed Reisinger

State Senator:  Verna Jones Rodwell

State Delegates:  Keith HaynesKeiffer Mitchell JrMelvin Stukes

1117 Carroll Street

1117 Carroll Street

The glass has been smashed out and it appears people have been coming and going through this basement window.

The glass has been smashed out and it appears people have been coming and going through this basement window.

1117 Carroll Street, rear yard is still a mess -- a dumping ground for trash and household items. The yard is so overgrown you can't see the house.

1117 Carroll Street, rear yard is still a mess — a dumping ground for trash and household items. The yard is so overgrown you can’t see the house.


Update: 854 Carroll Street

Property Address:  854 Carroll Street, Baltimore, MD 21230

Property Owner:  Talbot Consulting, LLC, 20 New Plant Court, Suite 106, Owings Mills, MD 21117

Resident Agent for Talbot Consulting, LLC:  Stewart D. Sachs, same address

City Council District and Contact:  District 10, Edward Reisinger

State Senator:  William Ferguson IV

State Delegates:  Pete Hammen, Luke Clippinger, Brian McHale

This property is the subject of a foreclosure case from 2013 that was recently reopened.  There have been no changes made to this property other than the tree that is now growing in the basement and sprouting out one of the windows.  Hopefully this property can be torn down or rehabbed, as it’s an eyesore on an otherwise decent block.

The last permit on this house expired in 2008. You can see the original post from 2010 here.

854 Carroll Street, September 19, 2014

854 Carroll Street, September 19, 2014