Last week, Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby—who is fundraising to defend himself in a federal investigation—unveiled a dollar houses program that his office claims will revitalize the city and bridge its massive racial wealth gap. The legislation allows certain Baltimoreans to rent a vacant home for two years for just $1 while they make necessary repairs. Once the formerly vacant home is livable, the title goes to the $1 renter.
The need for cheaper homes is apparent in Baltimore. Longtime city residents have been locked out of opportunities to create wealth that homeownership provides—and median sale prices in Baltimore have nearly doubled since January 2020.
“Besides the opportunity to create generational wealth, buying an affordable home will also save many city renters hundreds of dollars a month,” a press release from the council president’s office said. “Nearly half of the renters in Baltimore pay more than a third of their income on housing.”
Many housing advocates, and even some investors, are suspicious. They say Mosby’s legislation is duplicative of policies already in place and warn that, if previous attempts at this program are any indication, the program…