Community First: Baltimore's Vacants to Value turns vacant properties into "assets to the community"
- Created: Thursday, 19 July 2018 14:54
- Written by Laura Proescholdt
"How do you bolster neighborhoods by shifting vacant properties into assets to the community?" For Alice Kennedy, Deputy Commissioner for the Department of Housing and Community Development in Baltimore, Maryland, that's the driving question behind the City's Vacants to Value program.
Launched in 2010, Vacants to Value incentivizes redevelopment of abandoned properties by providing applicants with $10,000 toward closing costs and downpayment assistance for the purchase of a formerly vacant home, and allows buyers to build home renovation loans into their mortgage. To qualify for the incentive, the house must have been subject to a Vacant Building Notice for a year or more prior to its rehabilitation for a sale to a home buyer.
Kennedy says the program strengthens communities by building on existing neighborhood assets. "We're looking at continuing to highlight neighborhoods that often go overlooked," Kennedy explains. "These areas are affordable with strong roots that are attractive to homebuyers. It's important to highlight the amenities that currently exist in those neighborhoods."