Sign of the Times
Can we afford it?

Let's Give ALL Young Marylanders a Promising Future

Lost 'Fortune' - Baltimore's Lost Corporations


2/11/14 - 2014 General Assembly Session, 1st Month Legislative Analysis

2/22/14 - The Latest Anthony Brown Commercial

4/3/14 - A Tale of
Two Cities


3/8/14 - Homeless Worker Renovation Program

3/8/14 - Single-Room Occupancy


No Social Program
Is Better
Than A Job

Keeping Kids
Out of Trouble


Doug Barry

Historian, Political Philosopher, Veteran



Everyone should have the right to a minimum level of decent housing. They should feel safe and secure in their homes. Their homes should be rat free and at least lead-safe, if not lead-free. It should have access to open space that kids can play in without fear. To achieve this, we need to both renovate and restore vacant houses, and build new affordable housing. We can also help low-income city homeowners with renovation projects designed to improve the overall condition of neighborhoods.

As a Delegate, I will appeal to residents to volunteer their specialized skills to contribute to a housing effort throughout the district, and eventually throughout the city. I will ask architects and engineers to donate their design and planning skills. I will ask contractors to train unemployed, underemployed and homeless citizens to do renovation and construction work. I will contribute my real estate knowledge to target areas where our investment will pay off the most.


Owning is cheaper than renting. Landlords must pay their mortgage payment, maintain the property and make a profit. Generally speaking, owners also take better care of property than renters. When factoring in the social costs of housing problems, it could be a lot cheaper than public housing as well.

We could create a special financing program, starting on a small scale at first, to get loans for people that might not qualify otherwise.


The next time we want to do a housing project, rather than the standard apartment style building, I propose we build a community with a secure open space, secure outside entry and parking space for at least two vehicles. Secure parking is needed so they can have transportation for work, and can park vehicles safely without fear of break-ins or theft. The ground level on the outside would have no windows, and would be brightly lit at street level.

Rather than the standard practice of just giving someone a place to live, a path to ownership and equity would be created. It would be set up as a condominium community. Ownership of each unit would be divided into 360 shares, which could be purchased in consecutive monthly payments. After twelve skipped payments, the cost of shares would start increasing based on market value. Skipped payments would not be allowed when they are above a certain income level. If the buyer gets more than twelve months ahead on their payments, they would begin to acquire additional shares. Classes on financial management would be required, and certain expenditures would count against them, for example luxury cars and expensive TVs. They would also be required to take certain work opportunities, and they would have to give a good reason why they couldn't work.

Once established, the financing program would be expanded to existing homes and people without financial problems. For people with a regular income, they would pay rent based on the percentage of the home they don't own. The program should reduce financial hardships for people and make foreclosures less common. An alternate version of the plan would divide the ownership into 3600 shares, and require the buyer to purchase 10 shares a month when their income is at an acceptable level.