Baltimore Housing Authority, the local body charged with administering the city’s public housing, is having a bad year. To put it mildly.
In September, eleven women from three different public housing buildings in the city filed a federal lawsuit against the housing authority, alleging that maintenance staff demanded sexual favors before making repairs. Last month, tenants of Lakeview Tower, many of them elderly and/or disabled, staged a protest after being left for three days without heat or water. Last week, the Baltimore Sun reported that the housing authority had quietly eliminated the position of Inspector General, the role tasked with investigating employee misconduct. Oh, and two of the employees who helped blow the whistle on the sex-for-repairs scandal have been suspended from their jobs. Meanwhile, the city is selling off close to 40 percent of its public housing units to private developers in a desperate attempt to raise the capital needed to repair the remaining 60 percent. Phew.
The pile-up of trouble has made local headlines for the past few months; now, national media is starting to pay attention. Gawker snarked its way through a summary of the city’s problems yesterday. Who wants to take bets on how long Baltimore Housing Commissioner Paul Graziano will still be in office? (Though, if he could outlast that drunkenly-shouting-gay-slurs scandal, maybe he’ll make it through this okay, too.)
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