We often point out all of the ways that homeownership can help consumers. Yet we sometimes overlook how it can also literally transform cities.
We all remember watching as Baltimore was rocked by protests against police violence in 2015. Baltimore has also suffered since the mortgage meltdown. However, we always knew that with homeowners as the backbone, Baltimore could withstand any challenge and thrive again. That’s why I’m so excited about Move Up in Baltimore, a program that seeks to expand homeownership in the city through the reuse of vacant, abandoned and/or foreclosed properties.
Recently we gave partners in Move Up in Baltimore a tour of some of the properties that are being rehabilitated for homebuyers. Read on to see how this program can be a model for transforming cities across the country.
Case in point: Baltimore. Like any major American city, Baltimore has had its share of challenges. It wasn’t that long ago that we all watched as Baltimore was rocked by protests against police violence. While some may have used that incident as an opportunity to point to everything that is wrong with Baltimore, we remained focused on all that is right. With homeowners as the backbone, we knew that Baltimore could withstand any challenge and thrive again.
That’s why I’m so excited about Move Up in Baltimore, a program that seeks to expand homeownership in the city through the reuse of vacant, abandoned and/or foreclosed properties.
Since 2003, HomeFree-USA has been acquiring and rehabilitating houses and helping people achieve the dream of homeownership. The program works in tandem with the HomeFree-USA homeownership preparation program, which has made homeownership possible for more than 7,000 first-time homebuyers, none of whom have foreclosed.
There are many reasons to bring more homeownership opportunities to Baltimore. Not only does Baltimore have a hometown feel, but it is affordable and is home to many different communities, 72 of which have been designated historic districts.
Our partners in this effort include the State of Maryland, the City of Baltimore, Freddie Mac, Baltimore Community Lending, the Southwest Partnership and the Second Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. We are also inviting other organizations and employers to join us in efforts to uplift Baltimore communities.
Through Move Up in Baltimore, we are reclaiming the Baltimore neighborhoods that have been ravaged by vacant properties and the other ill effects of the mortgage meltdown. The program is good for Baltimore residents, and it will also make a difference for the community as a whole. When residents have a financial stake in their community, they take pride in their surroundings and contribute to their neighborhood’s future because that future is intertwined with their own futures.
Baltimore is on the rise, and 2018 promises to be the best yet for this great city. And by increasing affordable homeownership opportunities across the nation, we can transform other cities one homebuyer at a time.