Baltimore received $1.8 billion from former President Barack Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), but the city has largely failed to see significant improvements from the massive investment.
The Obama administration allocated $1.8 billion of its 2009 stimulus to Baltimore, including $26.5 million to address crime prevention, $26 million to revamp abandoned properties, and $9.5 million to address homelessness.
According to The Washington Free Beacon, which conducted an analysis of the investment in 2015 after Obama decried Republicans for stiff-arming attempts to make “massive investments in urban communities,” the city received $1.8 billion, with $8.4 million going to a single zip code.
Free Beacon reported:
According to Recovery.gov, one of Baltimore’s central ZIP codes, 21201, received the most stimulus funding in the city, a total of $837,955,866. The amount included funding for 276 awards, and the website reports that the spending had created 290 jobs in the fourth quarter in 2013.
Of this amount, $467.1 million went to education; $206.1 million to the environment; $24 million to “family”; $16.1 million to infrastructure; $15.2 million to transportation; $11.9 million to housing; and $3.1 million to job training.
Twenty-nine other ZIP codes listed in Baltimore city received a total of $568,641,684.
A significant amount went toward crime prevention efforts, an estimated $26.5 million going to a project aimed to “make resources available to law enforcement and other public safety agencies to help protect Maryland citizens.”
However, the city has been plagued with violence in recent years following the hefty investment. Baltimore had the worst murder rate per capita in 2017, years after the Obama administration’s massive stimulus.
As Breitbart News reported:
Chicago gets a lot of press for its high murder rate and the city did, indeed, have far more murders than Baltimore in 2017. But Chicago is also far larger than Baltimore (about 3 million for Chicago versus 615,000 for Baltimore), so on a per capita basis, Maryland’s largest metropolis was far more dangerous for its citizens than even the blood-soaked Windy City.
CBS Baltimore noted that Baltimore’s 342 homicides resulted in a homicide rate of 56 per 100,000 people of cities with more than 500,000 citizens.
The violence continued, with Baltimore hitting a violent milestone last December–300 homicides. That made 2018 the “fourth year in a row where the dangerous city’s murder rate passed the 300-mark.” It appears to be on track to surpass 300 for the fifth year in a row, with 171 murders as of July 11, according to CBS Baltimore.
According to the report:
The first half of 2019 has been full of deadly gun violence, with often multiple shootings daily throughout one of Maryland’s most violent cities.
Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police released their year-to-date homicide rate from the last two years Wednesday morning but updated it Thursday after three more homicides occurred throughout Wednesday and overnight Thursday.
This time last year, there had been 147 murders. This year, the number has already hit 170, a 16 percent increase.
A Breitbart News analysis of 2018 homicide rates found that Baltimore’s homicide rate – 51 per 100,000 residents – was “higher than Honduras and nearly the same as in El Salvador.”
Violence is not the only issue plaguing the city. About $26 million went to the “Healthy Neighborhoods, Inc. Neighborhood Stabilization Program,” which aimed to “stabilize” communities “that have suffered from foreclosures and abandonment” by revamping “residential foreclosed, abandoned, or vacant properties in designated neighborhoods” in the city.
However, a recently resurfaced video shows former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh touring a neighborhood in East Baltimore and remarking on the rough shape of the area.
“What the hell? We should just take all this shit down,” she said on the tour.
“Whoa, you can smell the rats,” she exclaimed, adding “Whew, Jesus” and “Oh, my God, you can smell the dead animals”:
FLASHBACK: Fox 45 news report in September 2018 with Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh:
"What the hell? We should just take all this shit down.”
"Whoa, you can smell the rats." pic.twitter.com/BqhsL2Dsx7
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) July 28, 2019
According to the Free Beacon, another $548,100 project focused on the “preservation of jobs that are threatened by declines in philanthropic and other support during the current economic downturn.” It reportedly created 15.41 jobs in one quarter.
Baltimore’s unemployment rate sat at 7 percent when Obama left office in January 2017. It has dropped nearly 2 percent since Trump took office and was 5.1 percent as of May 2019.