New funds roll in for city of Houston to demolish dangerous, abandoned buildings

February 22, 2012 3:59:05 PM PST
There is new ammunition for the city of Houston to go after old abandoned buildings. Funds are rolling in that could help the city demolish eyesores -- those properties that attract crime to neighborhoods.

City leaders call dangerous and abandoned homes an epidemic across this city. Residents we talked to say they are glad the mayor and council made another $3.5 million commitment to do something about these neighborhood nuisances.

On Beulah Street, families are calling what's left of a charred place a neighborhood nuisance.

"It's a pretty big eyesore, and unfortunately it's not the only one," said resident Kae Shakir.

The lot is overgrown, there's debris and broken boards everywhere, and just like another dilapidated place on Anita Street, the city has tagged the old home as a dangerous hazard.

"When neighborhood people see that, you know they see it's trash. So they treat it like it's trash and then they dump more trash there," Shakir said.

That's why Shakir and Anita Bates with Change Happens Community Center in the Third Ward are happy City Council members are taking steps to attack the issue.

On Wednesday, the council voted to use $3.5 million from the affordable housing fund to demolish hundreds more homes. City staff say the eyesores on Beulah and Anita could possibly be on the list.

"We all know we have an epidemic of abandoned properties across the city," said Mayor Annise Parker.

The city says the demolition money could help tear down between 350 to 437 additional dangerous homes and vacant building. Back in May last year, we saw city workers tear down 400 dangerous buildings during the demolition day program the mayor started.

City leaders say removing the eyesores encourages the development of affordable housing. Shakir and Bates say it could also revitalize the street.

"I think it would just actually make the neighborhood better and make it safer for the children because there are a lot of children that play out here," Bates said.

You can report dilapidated or dangerous buildings on your street by calling 311.