New study reveals conditions of homes across Salisbury

SALISBURY, Md. – For the first time ever, officials know which neighborhoods are in need of serious repairs across Salisbury and they have numbers to back that up.

“Some of the blight is very hard to deal with. It has been here for decades,” says John O’Brien, the Assistant Director of Information Services, GIS Division, for the City of Salisbury.

The results are in for Salisbury’s first ever Housing Condition Study. Information about the state of repair is now available on more than 9-thousand buildings.

“Roof lines, you’ll see the sags in the roof lines or on the roofs themselves, they’ll be missing large sections of roof covering, broken windows,” says O’Brien. “Trash, grass weeds, growing in the areas.”

Homes were classified into three categories: negligible, moderate and considerable, with considerable being the worst condition.

“We have quantitative data now that says this is where we need to focus our services, our funding and our resources into these areas to better improve them,” says O’Brien.

Officials say some areas didn’t necessarily surprise them. “The Church Street neighborhood, Newtown, stuff like that, the Camden area. That obviously popped,” says O’Brien.

But they also learned more about the communities that are at risk of falling into disrepair. “Sleepy Hollow is a relatively new development. The vast majority of the homes in there are in great condition. But we’re starting to see where some of the homes are starting to decline into the at risk area.”

The goal is to catch those areas before they fall through the cracks. “Take them out of that at risk category. That way you stop the blight before it even ever happens,” says O’Brien.

Officials say these results will allow them to better serve areas that need help the most.

“People take pride or want to take pride I believe in where they live, where their children grow up. If you give them the opportunity to show that I think they will take it every time,” says O’Brien.

47 ABC also reached out to Salisbury Neighborhood Housing Services. The non-profit’s executive director says the city faces a unique challenge in its historic areas because those homes are older and require specific maintenance. That organization is trying to help with repairs by offering homeowners financial assistance.

The city hopes to do another housing condition survey in two years so that they can compare data. Similar studies have already been done in 16 other cities in the Mid-Shore region including Cambridge, Easton, Trappe and Denton.

Categories: Local News, Maryland