Housing Committee Meeting March 8, 2018

In attendance:

Diana Geis (Barre Circle)

Nancy McCormick (Mt. Clare)

Michael Seipp (SWP)

George Kleb (Bon Secours)

Domonique Clark (Homes Free USA)

Amanda Marks

Suzanne Welch (CPDC)

Kitty Perkins (Mt. Clare)

Chelsea Hayman (CivicWorks)

Lou Packett (Franklin Square)

Jonathan Law

Matthew Benning (Pigtown)

Edith Quillard (Franklin Square)

Sonya Eddy (Poppleton)

Kelleigh Eastman (Pigtown)

Clementine Burke

________  Butler



Meeting called to order 7 pm

1. Welcome and Introductions. Diana Geis offered a welcome to newcomers and gave an overview of the agenda.

2. Review of Minutes from February Meeting. The February minutes were reviewed and approved.

3. Report on La Cite/Center West. Diana Geis provided the initial report which was supplemented later by Sonya Eddy.  Ian Arias, Executive VP and co-founder of La Cite, oversees the Center West Development. Diana reported about a meeting where he was present.  The question was raised about hiring local people.  The answers they provided regarding local hiring obligations and efforts was unclear.  She investigated their temp agency and they apparently do hire local people.  They indicated that they will work with the Mayor’s Office on Economic Development (MOED) going forward. They indicated that over 30% of work force is from the City and 50% from Maryland.

Sonya reported that the Poppleton Now planning committee is monitoring Center West (La Cite).  Sonya express a concern with the meeting with Center West at the City offices. They wanted to meet with Jack Young, but he didn’t attend.  There is concern about the exterior look which is not going to be brick.In addition, originally 321 townhomes were planned under the Land Disposition Agreement (LDA).   The Center West representative said he never intended to build single family townhomes, but apartment townhomes for rent.

4. CORE Application Presentation from Homes Free USA

Dominique Clark was present to discuss Homes Free USA’s following proposal:

  • 1050, 1052, 1054, 1058 and 1068 W. Fayette Street -working to acquire 5 properties under an LDA with the City. They would be requesting $250,000in CORE funding to help with demolition and stabilization.
  • In Mt. Clare, they have 1327 and 1329 W. Pratt and are looking at acquiring more properties on Gilmore, Pratt and Stricker Streets. The CORE budget request is not finalized.
  • They do not have sales price set yet.
  • The properties are being offered for family homeownership and not rental.

5. Questions and Answers on Housing Proposals.

Michael noted that recommendations for CORE funding requests going to the SWP Board in April 17th for a June submission date.Michael summarized the 6 proposals for consideration for CORE funding:

  • Venroy July – Schroeder Street $180,000 CORE
  • Mount and Pratt on a vacant lots $300,000 CORE
  • Social Impact Development with 10-12 houses in unit block N. Mount Street $250,000-$400,000 CORE
  • 5 houses in 1000 block W. Fayette Homes Free USA $250,000 request
  • Clare Homes Fee USA TBD
  • Resubmission of Pigtown 50 houses no selected developer. Also seeing Gateway funding.  $1 million CORE and Gateway.

6. Outreach Committee.Kitty Perkins reported that she was working on outreach materials for the Committee to discuss with the neighborhood associations. Diana and Kitty will visit all 7 associations for a 10-minute presentation.

The housing fair was moved from March 24th to the 25th, noon to 4 pm.  At March 15th at 3 pm there is a meeting at the BioPark for volunteers.

The Baltimore Green Network Plan draft is available. At March 16th at 6:30 pm meeting for public comments. Greennetwork@civiccomment.org

7. Aging-In-Place Committee. Jonathan Law reported on several resources for homeowners and tenants.  BNI is having an event April 28th 11-4 pm at Colington Square Elementary Middle School as a community resource fair with educational workshops on fair housing.  It was noted that there is no longer a senior center in SWP’s area.  COIL used to operate a senior center.  George Kleb asked if there is funded from the Commission on Aging that is available because there is an obligation on municipalities to provide senior services throughout the city.  The committee discussed looking at the program at James McHenry as a pilot senior recreational program for the community

8. HUBS Report. Chelsea Hammond from Civics Works presented the HUBS (Housing Upgrades to Benefit Seniors) program. chayman@civicworks.com. 410-366-8533 Ext. 232. HUBS is a collaborative program where case managers meet with senior homeowners. The site that serves SW is Meals on Wheels (515 S. Haven Street, Baltimore, MD 21224). Each HUBS site has a specific catchment area. They help people sign up for existing home repair programs, mostly through HUD.  Contact Civics Works T 443.470.9871.  Eligibility requirements are 80% AMI, Age 65 and older and Baltimore City homeowners.

Services include:

  • Home safety improvements (broken steps, hand rails)
  • Home rehab services (roof repair, plumbing repairs, furnaces and hot water tanks)
  • Energy efficiency modifications
  • Weatherization services (insulation, caulking of foundation)

Foundation funding supports the HUBS program.  Workers come from contractors vetted by the City. Civic Works does their own grab bars and hand rails and weatherization work.  There is a program that offers energy efficient light bulbs. BGE has a program.

9. New and Old Business. Michael reported that two years ago SWP asked the City for 44 in Franklin Square and 60 in Mount Clare. They are ready to do a group auction for the first 12 houses in Franklin Square. Michael is working with requesting grouping of the houses for optimal bidding.  There are 12 in Mount Clare ready for auction, but they aren’t in the priority block. The goal is to work with a developer to buy the houses or SWP will set up a LLC to buy to properties until CORE money is available.  There are CORE funds available with $250,000 for Franklin Square and $250,000 for Mount Clare.  The auction late April or early May.  Lou raised concern that someone might bid against SWP.  Michael reported that bidders need to have $50,000 in the bank for every property you bid on and agree to renovate in a year. If no one bids, it goes to the receiver to sell for $5000 and up.  SWP will continue to monitor. Diana congratulated Michael for his hard work.

Suzanne Welch mentioned the Ford Building court case and problem with the City not requiring a consent decree for receivership.Michael will again push the City for a response to their request.

This issue of the upcoming tax sale came up.  The tax sale is the second week in May the City puts put for auction every property in the city that has delinquent property taxes. It is now an online auction.  Bidding must be at a minimum the amount owed to the City. Bidding on the tax sale certificate (minimum $6000), then bidder has 6 months to wait before starting foreclosure proceedings. At the end of 6 months they must notify all with a title interest and any of them can reclaim the certificate plus the amount you bid plus 18% plus legal costs- 60 days.  If no one acts, you think file an action in court for redemption of the title.  Court can extend time or hand deed over free and clear of any debt.  Costs about $2000 in attorney fees to go through the process. See www.Bidbaltimore.com. The posted May 14 tax sale is the 2018 tax sale.

10. Adjournment 8:46 pm


Notes by Suzanne Welch