NPR Reports on Baltimore’s Vacants to Value

Joe Schilling was recently interviewed by the Baltimore NPR-affiliate on the City’s Vacants to Value program. The program, established November 2010 by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, is focused on selling vacant properties within specific transitioning neighborhoods.

Currently, Baltimore has an estimated 16,000 vacant properties, 10,000 of which are in need of demolition. For the remainder of these properties still capable of rehabilitation, the City continues to make progress.  Since the introduction of the Vacants to Value program, approximately 843 vacant properties have been rehabbed or are under construction.

There are two pieces of Baltimore’s Vacants to Value program that stand out, first its targeted and strategic approach, and second its on-going public information workshops. On the front-end, the City analyzes the market demand for housing block by block and overlays this information with their vacant property inventory. From this analysis, the City is able to identify emerging markets and better target their resources.

In addition to this strategic focus, the City also hosts bi-weekly workshops to teach the public how to buy vacants. The focus of the workshops rotates, instructing the public on: how to buy city-owned properties, how to rehab properties, how to market rehabbed properties, as well as how to take advantage of home-buyer incentives.

During his interview, Schilling notes the importance of learning from Baltimore’s program and practices. Furthermore, he underscores the importance of engaging community groups in vacant property efforts.

To hear more from Joe Schilling’s interview and about the Vacants to Value program, listen to the whole story here.