Rows of dilapidated houses stretch onward like abandoned monoliths and signs of life are scarce; the only movement is the massive up-drifts of refuse caught in the wind. No, this isn’t a trailer for the latest sci-fi/horror movie; this is a stark description of many areas of Baltimore City where abandoned houses occupy valuable swatches of land that could be utilized for the benefit of our communities. Currently in Baltimore, there are 360 buildings condemned every year, abandoned buildings that Baltimore’s public and private leaders should transform into communal places of positive feedback such as auxiliary educational and living space, homeless shelters, and healthcare centers.
The most reasonable way to fix the problem of overcrowded classrooms, which educators agree affects the literacy, learning levels and graduation rates of students in public schools, is to tear down abandoned warehouses so that schools can expand. One teacher is unable to teach 40 different kids with different needs at one time. Along this line, having a tutoring center in an old abandoned building would do good for kids who are poor and illiterate. It is important for kids to get help with their educational problems at places like tutoring centers because many of their parents don’t have time to provide them with homework help.
Entire blocks of old buildings with no one living on them should be destroyed and rebuilt in order to provide affordable housing and shelters for Baltimore’s 13,000 homeless families, amongst others. Why not make the condemned buildings that many already occupy safer and healthier, thereby allowing people the means by which they can, for instance, make themselves presentable for a job interview, and better their lives?
There are numerous examples of successful renovation efforts, including those by the House of Ruth, Americorps, EPA, and volunteers in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina that could be emulated in Baltimore City. As a result of the demolition of condemned buildings, Baltimore could become a surplus of space that could be used to build its communities. Classrooms, tutoring centers, and homeless shelters, as well as other services, could take kids off the streets and beautify Baltimore.