The guiding philosophy behind H.O.M.E.S. is:
H: Home-ownership and revitalization for people who actually live in the community vs. gentrification and giveaways to a select few investors and absentee landlords.
O: Opportunity means jobs for the community, including ex-offenders returning to the community and participating in renovations.
M: Mentorship in the form of court ordered diversion to apprenticeship programs in the building trades, as opposed to mass incarceration at $38,000 per inmate.
E: Economic stability as the Dollar House Program would produce state and local income tax revenue at very livable wages. The Dollar House Program would also produce minority contracting opportunities.
S: Success is all of the above, which can be achieved with direct loans from the state at a 1% fixed rate, turning a $100,000 renovation investment loan into an affordable $300/per month mortgage for a typical Dollar House owner.
In January 2016 Governor Hogan and then-mayor Rawlings-Blake stood in Sandtown-Winchester and announced that $700 million dollars was being given to Baltimore City for housing development. $96 million was earmarked to demolish 4,000 vacant properties and $600 million was slated for subsidies for developers. H.O.M.E.S. (Home-ownership, Opportunity, and Mentorship for Economic Success) was formed as a result of the belief that the $700 million could be better spent by facilitating housing ownership for Baltimore’s working families, thus stabilizing Baltimore neighborhoods. H.O.M.E.S. has developed a program, The Dollar House/Dollar Lot Program for the 21st Century, which is modeled on Baltimore’s original successful dollar house program of the late 1970s-early 1980s.*
Below are the Seven Principles of The Dollar House/Dollar Lot Program for the 21st Century:
- One percent (1%) interest renovation loan, which then becomes the mortgage. Not to be confused with the dollar house program recently introduced by City Council President Nick Mosby, which is a grant program.
- Mortgage loan funding does not come from the bank—it comes from the state/city. Ultimately, the program costs nothing—as all funds are paid back to the city/state with (1%) one percent interest.
- Qualifications for home-ownership are based on the VA streamlined model. Potential home buyers must have one year of employment or be retired and have one year of paying their rent or mortgage on time.
- Homeowners choose from a vetted pool of licensed minority contractors to work on the houses.
- Houses are renovated simultaneously—one block at a time—as we work our way up to renovating several blocks simultaneously.
- Jobs, jobs training, and apprenticeships for the chronically unemployed and underemployed (including ex-offenders) are included in the program.
- Minority contracting opportunities are available for small minority contractors who are normally shut out of the bidding process due to bids being bundled.
*Baltimore City Council Resolution 17-0037R in support of the H.O.M.E.S. Dollar House/Dollar Lot Program for the 21st Century was passed unanimously in 2017. Startup funding is needed to kick off a pilot program. The funds expended are returned to the city/state coffers, and the working citizen retains ownership of his/her home in his/her community throughout the process. No one in the H.O.M.E.S. organization will get rich from this program; the contractors simply get paid for what they do. This program is sincerely meant to provide equity and fairness to the community.
If you could own a beautiful, new home for an approximate $300 to $800 per month renovation mortgage on a virtually new block, would you be interested?