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Mayor Rawlings-Blake Celebrates Three Years of Vacants to Value

Vacants to Value's new look unveiled and new homeownership incentives announced

(Baltimore, MD - November 12, 2013) Today, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Baltimore Housing Commissioner Paul T. Graziano joined elected officials, residents and community partners to celebrate the three-year anniversary of the Vacants to Value (V2V) initiative. A meet and greet breakfast at the Cylburn Arboretum kicked off the daylong celebration. The festivities continued with several exciting and informative events, including: a housewarming celebration in Remington for a new homeowner; a demolition of blighted properties on the 1300 block of Hillman Street in Johnston Square; and a workshop at Humanim on how to purchase a vacant property. In honor of the 3rd Anniversary, Mayor Rawlings-Blake announced her expansion of the Baltimore's Homeownership Incentive Program, known as BHiP, and unveiled the new Vacants to Value brand, marketing campaign and website.

"For the past three years, Vacants to Value has been a catalyst of change for Baltimore neighborhoods, helping us in our mission to bring 10,000 families to the city," said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. "We have expanded our incentives, modernized the Vacants to Value logo, expanded our marketing campaign and launched a new website that captures the vitality and spirit of our commitment to Baltimore."

Mayor Rawlings-Blake's BHiP program offers incentives specifically tailored for Baltimore City homebuyers. Here's what is new:

  • V2V $10,000 Booster Program - Eligible homebuyers can get $10,000 towards closing costs for the purchase of a formerly vacant home.
  • Baltimore City Employee Homeownership Program - The incentive for City employees has been increased from $3,000 to $5,000.
  • Buying Into Baltimore - The incentive for homebuyers has been increased from $4,000 to $5,000.
  • Live Baltimore - Also LiveBaltimore has added four neighborhood tours to the previous two citywide tours. The number of incentives awarded has been increased from 60 to 100 per year and the incentive can be used without limitation to a particular neighborhood.

"When you look around Baltimore, from the East to the West and in between, you can see the impact Vacants to Value has made on our city over the past three years," said Commissioner Graziano. "We have taken a comprehensive approach through demolitions, sale of city-owned vacant properties, redevelopment, and incentive programs to strengthen the city and create new opportunities for families who want to live and work in Baltimore."

The day also celebrated Vacants to Value's achievements, including national and international awards the program has received. Mayor Rawlings-Blake announced that Baltimore Housing was named a winner of the Urban Land Institute's (ULI) 2013 Robert C. Larson Workforce Housing Public Policy Awards for the Vacants to Value initiative. The award, which was announced at the ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing's meeting on November 6th, recognizes innovative state and local policy initiatives that support the production, rehabilitation, or preservation of America's workforce housing. The Vacants to Value program will be featured on ULI.org. In September, Baltimore Housing also was named a North America semifinalist for Financial Times' Citi Ingenuity Award for having an original idea that has made life better for Baltimore residents.

Since its launch in November 2010, Vacants to Value has helped initiate the rehabilitation of 1,500 vacant properties, the demolition of over 700 dilapidated structures, the award of over 500 homebuyer assistance grants, and the adoption and greening of over 800 lots by community groups.

For more information about Vacants to Value, visit the new website at vacantstovalue.org. You can also follow Vacants to Value on YouTube, Facebook and on Twitter @bmorev2v to learn more about how V2V is making Baltimore neighborhoods stronger.

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