After a mass shooting left two dead earlier this month during the annual Brooklyn Day party on a development run by the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC), the city’s public housing authority that manages properties serving low-income residents says it’s looking to update policies on how it manages event authorization, like block parties. As of now, there are few readily available written policies.
Officials say they are still working out many of the details on how that will happen, but a July 18th meeting outlined some first steps, starting with a resolution to clarify gatherings in communal spaces.
In the aftermath of the Brooklyn Day shooting, which took place at the Brooklyn Homes community in South Baltimore, HABC officials maintained the event was “unsanctioned” and the agency knew nothing of the gathering until after the shooting happened. When asked for written policies regarding the organizing of events, Senior Vice-President of Communications Ingrid Antonio wrote, “The policies are undergoing an internal review and will be available once they are finalized… we are reviewing what is in place now and what we will look at amending. Policies and procedures must be reviewed, discussed, and updated to meet the adapting environments that we work in every day.”
Those policies will now be spelled out in the agency’s Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policies.
Previously, there were no details in the ACOP on how residents can hold a gathering on communal property. Now, the updated policy, which passed unanimously, will require residents “to get written approval from HABC for any indoor or outdoor common area for an event. Additionally, prior written approval from HABC is needed for any utilities in any indoor or outdoor common area for an event.”
Any violation of this “would be considered a material violation of the lease.”
These policies affect over 42,000 people living in 5,952 units across Baltimore City, according to HABC’s website. The changes will be communicated “internally and externally” through “various platforms.”
In an email to WYPR, Antonio wrote that residents need to contact the Asset Manager for events of any size and obtain written authorization, which is then sent all the way up the chain to both legal and resident affairs for final approval. There is a $50 cost for privately organized tenant events that are authorized by the HABC.