When I started this blog, I had a mental “rule” that I’ve stuck with thus far.  I said I wasn’t going to write about homes that people live in.  Especially if children lived there.  Imagine the shame you’d feel if you read about your dilapidated home on the internet — or worse yet, you’re at school, and another kid walks in and says something awful about your living conditions.

However, rules are meant to be bent sometimes, and I think this is one of those times.  We have a fairly active Facebook page, and someone posted some photos, along with a heartbreaking story — and I think it needs further investigation, and perhaps some public scrutiny of the slumlord who owns the home.

Without revealing too many details, such as the tenant’s name and address — here’s the story:

An elderly woman is living in a row house — she’s not only elderly, but she’s in poor health, and quite frail.  The house has been overrun by junkies, and there doesn’t seem to be any working toilets/sinks in the house.  According to a neighbor who reported the story, the stench is incredible — you can smell it from next door.  There is also a little girl who stays there from time to time — she’s the daughter of one of the junkies.  Not only have the junkies overtaken this woman’s home, they’ve abused her — and the landlord has allowed it to continue, charging each person $400 a month to stay in the house (despite the conditions).

Here are just a few photos, supplied by a neighbor who’s called Baltimore Housing, Child Protective Services, Elder Services, and the police — to no avail:

Destroyed moldy ceiling
Missing tile in the kitchen
Non-working sink
The tub with the burgundy lid -- it's full of human waste. There are no working toilets in this home.

Folks, I don’t know about you — but this bothers me on so many levels.  The City, despite being told many times about the situation in this house — a situation that involves an elderly frail woman and a small child — has done nothing.  The landlord has done nothing except collect his $400 a month from everyone staying there (despite only the elderly woman being on the lease).  It’s time to push the issue, and make sure the City not only gets rid of the abusive tenants, but they need to hold the landlord responsible for allowing this woman to live in unsafe, unsanitary conditions.  Continuing to take money from the interlopers who have abused this woman (in front of the little girl, no less) is beyond despicable.

As always, I’ll keep you posted on the story.  I’m hoping there’s a happy ending for the woman and the little girl.

15 thoughts to “Breaking a Rule

  • neighbor to this mess

    some updates: the calls i placed through elder services actually DID help the disabled woman out, but there was only so much they could do as an organization until she was relocated. she was assigned a very caring caseworker who had made attempts to relocate her, but it was a challenge to find a place that met her needs.

    now that the disabled woman is safe and gone, the social worker can proceed with her housing authority case, bolstered by support/ corroboration of the neighborhood group i approached with all this same info i shared with you.

    it’s wonderful that things are finally changing…people who prey on the vulnerable and destroy neighborhoods should be cast out, not accepted as landlords OR ‘part of the local color’.

    • slumlordwatch

      Wonderful! What about the little girl? And please do email the guy whose address I sent you. He can make sure that slumlord is fined (and possibly thrown in jail) for the living conditions in that home.

  • neighbor to this mess

    i also need to say i just feel so much better now that the former disabled tenant there has been finally able to confide in me and verify all my suspicions and observations, now that she’s safe, and i’ve been able to be ‘out’ with this story of what we , as immediate neighbors, endured these 2 years.

    now that i’ve told so many people about it, i’m once again letting myself hope that things are all about to change over there. i’m anxious but getting closer to the goal of peace, quiet, and harmony in my home and neighborhood.

  • neighbor to this mess

    the little girl lives with her mother somewhere else, and is only an occasional guest in that home, so unless a case is filed, that little girl’s likely to turn up in whatever crackhouse her biological father is living , to be baby-sat, if there’s no intervention from authorities.

    • slumlordwatch

      Oh that’s so sad. Someone really needs to get involved (and when I say “someone” I mean the authorities) and get that little girl into a safe place. As a mother, things like that are beyond unacceptable.

  • Kate

    Please, please, please call legal aid. http://www.mdlab.org/ I don’t know if they have the resources to take the case, but I would hope that they would pick this case up. – K

    • slumlordwatch

      I do think Legal Aid can help them get their case together…there’s also MDVLS — but they handle civil matters, I think. Someone definitely has to help this little girl.

  • A.F. James MacArthur Ph.A.L.

    WOW! This is one hell of a story. I applaud you for making the decision to bend your longstanding rule and post this. Glad to hear some progress being made. The city is better by your presence.

    • slumlordwatch

      Thank you — it was a hard decision…but when there are kids involved, it makes things worse. I hope the city does something to help this little girl.

  • David H

    And city officials wince at the thought of The Wire giving B-More a reputation. You are mayor of this house, SRB. Your city regulates this situation, SRB.

  • neighbor to this mess

    i think vulnerable, disabled adults deserve the same amount of concern and worry shown towards them that we show to kids. i mean kids are cute and naturally evoke a protective response, but lots of vulnerable adults have issues with pride and shame that prevent them from recognizing the help they need, or asking for it.

  • neighbor to this mess

    Again, as stated, the little girl isn’t there as much as the disabled woman who has roach bites on her knees and who had her meds (AND CLOTHING) stolen by the junkies in the property and who was blamed by the landlord for ‘letting them in’. the junkies never had a lease and the landlord didn’t do his job in enforcing any of the codes.Predatory slumlords can destroy the lives of vulnerable tenants with their white-collar bullying just as much as the predatory crackhead/junkies can!

  • neighbor to this mess

    I def. want to thank certain church thrift shops for supplying clothing for the disabled now-former tenant, and i want to thank Baltimore citizens i’ve networked with who have provided my friend with a wheelchair, free of charge (because ‘free plus co-pay’ isn’t at all cheap..) This all happened partly because 8 ‘disabled’ people can live in an apartment that only 3 ‘regular’ people can live in, and addiction is considered a ‘disability.’

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