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Mayor Scott To Pledge $100M To Housing Equity Initiatives

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott is scheduled to make a public appearance on Friday to pledge $100 million in federal funding to housing initiatives intended to help city residents and families.

Scott will be joined by other officials for an 11 a.m. news conference, where they will also provide an update on a citywide review of vacant buildings, which was ordered in response to a vacant rowhome collapse that killed three firefighters.

In late January, the mayor gave city departments a 30-day deadline to take stock of what they are doing to reduce the number of vacant buildings throughout the city and submit their findings to chief administrator Chris Shorter.

Scott's order came on the heels of a deadly fire and building collapse on Jan. 24 that killed three of Baltimore's bravest—Lt. Paul Butrim, Lt. Kelsey Sadler and firefighter Kenny Lacayo—and injured another.

According to city figures, there are roughly 15,000 vacant houses throughout Baltimore, the vast majority of which have private owners. About one-third of the properties are being rehabbed, redeveloped or prepared for demolition or sale.

Among the options on the table to reduce the number of vacants is receivership, or the legal process by which the city and take control of properties from delinquent owners.

As of January, the city's department of housing and community development was on pace to file nearly 500 receivership cases in 2022, But under the initiative, the goal is to dramatically increase that figure.

At the time, Scott indicated the city would tap into its share of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to help manage vacant housing and blighted properties in the city's underserved neighborhoods.

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