City board adopts revised lease for public housing

January 18, 1995|By JoAnna Daemmrich | JoAnna Daemmrich,Sun Staff Writer

Baltimore housing officials appealed yesterday for tenants to devote more time to volunteer efforts, while approving a revised lease that "encourages" but doesn't require community work.

"I would like us to see some incentives to encourage even more people to become involved in their communities," said Sharon Grinnell, a member of the housing board, after the new lease was adopted.

Elizabeth Wright, head of the Residents Advisory Board, promised to urge the more than 50,000 people living in public housing to sweep the sidewalks, tutor children or participate in community meetings.

"Like many of you, we are struggling to raise families of decent, achieving persons in an environment that is far from ideal," she said, reading from an old letter she plans to send out again. "I am appealing to you to volunteer in your own community to do something about crime and drugs, about truancy and teen-age pregnancy, about theft and vandalism."

She was among the tenant leaders who mobilized against making community work a condition for living in public housing. Housing Commissioner Daniel P. Henson III abandoned the proposed requirement and instead retained a lease section that "encourages" residents to volunteer.

The new lease still calls on managers to work with tenants to develop customized plans for volunteer work. But the revision reassured tenants who feared they could be more vulnerable to evictions.

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