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Health, safety inspectors put Maryland public housing last

In this Feb. 22, 2019 photo, a sign alerts residents in Rosemont Tower in Baltimore that the fire sprinkler system is out of service, requiring a firefighter to stand watch around the clock. Largely due to complexes such as Rosemont Tower, since 2013 Maryland had the country's highest inspection failure rate for public housing at 32%. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

In this Feb. 22, 2019 photo, a sign alerts residents in Rosemont Tower in Baltimore that the fire sprinkler system is out of service, requiring a firefighter to stand watch around the clock. Largely due to complexes such as Rosemont Tower, since 2013 Maryland had the country’s highest inspection failure rate for public housing at 32%. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

BALTIMORE — Almost a third of public housing inspections in Maryland have resulted in failing health and safety scores. An analysis of federal data by The Associated Press shows that’s the worst performance in the country.

Old, rundown complexes in Baltimore are the main culprit. Federal and city data show that 22 of 37 Baltimore sites failed their most recent inspections.

The Housing Authority of Baltimore City blames the problems on long-term underfunding by the federal government.

Statewide, public housing buildings failed 32% of inspections since 2013.

The problems extend beyond Maryland. The District of Columbia had the country’s second worst failure rate at 29%.

Inspection scores have declined for years nationally at subsidized apartments assigned to low-income tenants both in public housing and private buildings. Meanwhile, few operators face serious consequences.


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