CLEVELAND - Nettie King and her mother are literally surrounded by vacant homes in their Cleveland neighborhood.
King is extremely concerned about the more than two dozen condemned homes on East 88th Street that she believes pose a real health and safety hazard for everyone living on her block.
"They have condemned signs on them. It's not healthy," King said. "You have a school over there and you think about the children, you think about the children that are being kidnapped. These houses can promote that. It's not safe for anybody."
King told NewsChannel5 she has been calling the city of Cleveland about the two vacant homes right next door to her home since 2008.
One of the homes has turned into a dumping ground. The front porch is filled with garbage and the driveway filled with old construction debris.
King was so upset, she and her sister contacted the 5 On Your Side Troubleshooter Team in search of some answers and some help.
"I'm happy you're here. I'm glad that my sister contacted you,"King said. "I'm glad you responded."
NewsChannel5 then contacted Ward 7 Cleveland Councilman T.J. Dow, who responded immediately.
Dow met with East 88th Street residents and quickly determined which of the numerous vacant homes posed the greatest safety risk. Dow pledged to get all garbage and debris removed, and make an effort to speed up the demolition process.
"I might not be able to get all of these houses down, but I always ask residents what's your priority," Dow said.
"We recognize what's the priority and thank you for being the in-between as well. We'll definitely get some of these house down."
Dow insisted residents communicate with the their city council member early and often when dealing with nuisance properties. Residents should feel free to contact their city building and housing department, and quickly report any change in the status of a vacant home.
Dow reported Cleveland is having a tough time keeping pace with the growing number of vacant homes, a city that has lost hundreds of thousands of residents and now has too much housing stock.
"Our city can't use all the housing stock that we have and we're strapped for cash," Dow said.
Meanwhile, 5 On Your Side is also trying to improve local neighborhoods through our Building Better Neighborhoods initiative.
Residents can report vacant homes by sending us pictures and information on condemned properties in their neighborhoods, and we'll forward the information to your city building department in an effort to move the properties to progress.
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