The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Baltimore Tears Down Public Housing

Jan 22, 2018

The mayor of Baltimore just announced that part of the Gilmor Homes will be torn down. About 120 families in these public housing units are supposedly to be housed somewhere “better,” according to the mayor. Local community leaders have asked where these residents will be able to go – in a city with an enormous waiting list for subsidized housing. No answer has been given.

This area, West Baltimore, suffers from high poverty, with a median income of $28,841, and high unemployment, especially among black men. It’s the area where a black man’s death at the hands of the police set off riots two years ago.

Gilmor, like other public housing units, probably should have been replaced long ago. Two years ago, residents at Gilmor were waiting for the city to make more than 500 repairs. The city paid a settlement when women at Gilmor Homes sued some of the maintenance workers, who had demanded sex for repairs.

The state of public housing is a sign of a society that cannot or will not provide decent, affordable housing for everyone. And it’s not the only thing this society cannot provide: like decent jobs, and a good education for its children. Baltimore City is like the poor stepchild ignored by its family, or in this case the state of Maryland, which has one of the highest average incomes in the country.

We live in a society that tolerates every form of inequity and injustice – with leaders proposing more of the same.