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Baltimore officials are deciding whether to sell boarded-up houses for the nominal price of $1 to draw homeowners to spruce up neighborhoods that have been plagued by crime and disrepair.

The proposal backed by Mayor Brandon Scott would offer more than 200 city-owned vacant properties to residents who commit to repairing and living in them. It's scheduled to come up for a vote Wednesday on the spending board controlled by Scott's administration, although the proposal has been pushed off before.

Vacant homes are a decades-long problem in the Maryland city, which has one of the highest crime rates in the US concentrated within a few high-poverty neighborhoods. The plan evokes Baltimore's "dollar house" program from the 1970s, which offered properties for a buck to homesteaders if they fixed them up.

The program is meant to prioritize individual buyers, who would be charged only $1, over developers, who would pay $3,000. Home repair grants of $50,000 would be available to help with renovations, but recipients would have to be pre-approved for a construction loan, according to, a policy trade publication.

While the housing program targets a few hundred homes, there were close to 15,000 abandoned properties across Baltimore as of 2022, according to the city.