The Baltimore Housing Authority is planning to have the Gilmor Homes public housing community partially demolished by 2019. Gilmor Homes is where Freddie Gray once lived. Last night, Housing Authority officials met with Gilmor Homes residents to lay out their plans. WYPR City Hall reporter Dominique Maria Bonessi talks about it with Nathan Sterner.
NATHAN: What is the housing authority’s plan? And how many residents are expected to be relocated?
DOMINIQUE: In total, there will be 6 buildings targeted for demolition for early 2019. That’s about 132 units and 123 families that will have to be relocated. That’s the plant, but keep in mind, it only works if the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development approves.
NATHAN: Why is there such a need to move residents out of these buildings?
DOMINIQUE: Janet Abrahams, Executive Director of the housing authority, cited a few reasons why these buildings were targeted to demolition. First, it would cost $17.6 million to fix the problems in these buildings. She also mentioned safety, here is a clip…
ABRAHAMS: “We understand there is a safety issue here at this property. And so with the safety issues, maintenance concerns, I know there have been some heat issues, we want to address all that in this plan.”
DOMINIQUE: So a few things in that. Residents last night complained about drug trafficking, vandalized security lights and broken cameras, and some residents even talked about the need for emergency transfers because they felt threatened or unsafe in their neighborhood.
NATHAN: What will happen to the residents that will be relocated?
DOMINIQUE: That part is still unclear. Abrahams said this is just the first step of a year-long process, and telling residents not to do anything drastic.
you. The relocation counselors will work with families one-on-one.”
DOMINIQUE: On January 23rd, the housing authority will meet with residents affected by relocation on January 23rd. And then till March relocation counselors will be individually meeting with residents to discuss relocation. But, HUD approval may not come until late July. Then residents will be moved between July and December.
NATHAN: And, how do resident feel about relocation?
DOMINIQUE: Well, I got the impression these residents feel they have other more pressing issues to deal with like heating, many people feel they are constantly putting in maintenance requests for heating that doesn’t work. They also mentioned the issue of rodents and cockroaches, and contractors that don’t get to every building to exterminate them. All in all, they are pessimistically hopefully that demolition and relocation will happen because of all the other issues that remain unresolved.