Financial Post | Business

By Yepoka Yeebo

In Baltimore the wrecks stretch for blocks in every direction. Shattered windows, buckling walls, sometimes just a façade, propped up by the houses on either side.

The vacant streets are punctuated by the odd meticulously kept home, a living city slowly turning into a ghost town.

Click here to see some of the abandoned homes >

Baltimore has tried to deal with the tens of thousands of abandoned houses that mar the city. They’ve been refurbished. They’ve been raffled for $1. They’ve been demolished. But the number of vacant houses keeps growing.

There were radical efforts seize abandoned homes and sell off city-owned property. In the nineties, $100 million was poured into some of the most troubled areas. Now the city is trying another approach: jump-starting the housing markets in healthier neighborhoods.

As Baltimore faces a $52 million budget shortfall, there is a more urgent need than…

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