BALTIMORE - The 900 block of North Collington in East Baltimore is deserted.
Nobody lives there, not a soul.
It is blocks like that, blight like that, the city hopes to buy and sell in summits like the one held Thursday at the Baltimore Convention Center.
It is the mayor's vacants to value campaign. Launched this past November, the program in part, is aimed at home buyers and developers to buy the forgotten properties and renovate/develop them.
Chayim Lando is one of about 600 to show up today who see the point and the value.
"It takes unproductive housing stock and turns it into something productive, it reduces crime, it reduces areas for dumping, it offers people employment opportunities and it offers housing. It is a win, win situation," said Lando.
That is what the mayor is banking on.
Reducing vacants can help reduce crime and increase quality of life.
Some experts agree calling vacant homes the primary indicator of the health of a neighborhood.
"You literally can see a neighborhood go from one that is thriving where there are kids outside riding bikes or potted plants on people's porches to the only people you see outside in the community are people related to the drug trade."
Dr. Debra Furr-Holden is with the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins and studies neighborhood trends.
Vacants are like the canary in the coal mine for most areas, once one pops up research shows it could take as little as 18 months to determine what direction that neighborhood could go.
"You'll either get an increase in the number of vacants over that 18 months. Somewhere around 20-25 percent of the block, 25 percent of the properties becoming vacant you will see a dramatic shift in the quality of that neighborhood," said Holden.
It is research that bears out on Baltimore city streets like North Collington, now a target of city hall and with any success, hundreds of private developers and homebuyers.
To learn more on the mayor’s program, click here .
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