Isn’t it strange that in a near-homogeneous Black community like Baltimore, there seems to be so little social trust and social capital? Doesn’t this fly in the face of Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam’sfamous study that found diversity was the primary cause for a loss of civic engagement.
|The ruins of white Baltimore (an 88% white city in 1917, now a 70% black city in 2017 with 46,000 vacant buildings….|
The Baltimore City Council is holding a hearing this week in an effort to revive the city’s “Dollar House” program as a way to revitalize some of Baltimore’s struggling neighborhoods.
In the 1980s, Baltimore officials sold houses for $1 and helped finance rehabilitation of the properties through low-interest loans if homeowners agreed to live in the houses for a specified period of time. This effort is often credited with helping revitalize neighborhoods such as Otterbein and Ridgely’s Delight.
Now, City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke is asking why the city doesn’t — once again — try the program as a way to combat blight and vacant properties.
“So many people ask me, ‘What every happened to the “Dollar House” program?’ ” Clarke said. “It was a very successful program.”
Clarke has introduced a resolution — which is supported by the rest of the 15-member City Council — that encourages the city to back the program. The hearing will take place at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
“As Baltimore looks to solve the seemingly intractable problem of revitalizing neighborhoods beset by vacant homes, it would do well to look to solutions that have succeeded here in the past,” Clarke’s resolution states. “The City’s highly successful ‘Dollar House’ program from the 1980’s could serve as a useful model for true grassroots neighborhood revitalization in the modern era.”
Baltimore has thousands of vacant buildings, ranging anywhere from more than 16,000 to more than 46,000, depending on who’s counting. Many of them are owned by city government.
Understand now why white people, 100 years ago, passed laws to restrict black people from owning property in their communities in the 88% white city? In 1917, white people knew the consequences of what the racial degradation of their community would mean for their posterity.
In 2017 Baltimore, a 70% black city, we see those horrifying visions of a future where whites become a minority and blacks political control the city come to fruition.