DETROIT (WJBK) - The City of Detroit announced Thursday a new two-year program to address 11,000 abandoned houses in the city.
The Board up Brigades program is part of an overall plan to take care of the 25,000 remaining abandoned houses in Detroit. The city will board up 11,000 vacant houses, demolish 9,000 and 5,000 homes will be rehabbed and reoccupied through Land Bank Auction and Nuisance Abatement Program.
"We, as we always do, decided to work the bugs out so we've been doing this the last couple of weeks. I've heard from the folks down here it's going quite well. I understand we've got 40 housed boarded up," said Mayor Mike Duggan at the announcement in southwest Detroit.
For lifelong Detroiters like Sheri Burton, the sound of saws and nail guns is music to her ears. She says she's tired of the blight.
"What you see visually, you take it in internally," she said.
Many of the people hired by the city to be part of the Board-Up Brigades are returning to society after being incarcerated.
"I've learned I love to be out here. I don't want to take from people, I want give to people. I've took in my lifetime, now I'm trying to give back," said Larry Hodge of the Board up Brigades.
They say they are trying to make a difference in Motor City neighborhoods.
"We're getting a lot of love from the community," said Lynard Brown.
Almost 4,000 houses are in the pipeline ... Slated to be boarded up. If you have an abandoned house in your neighborhood that you want boarded up, the city says you should contact your neighborhood block president.
The men and women doing the hard work say not only are they making a difference, they are also making people happy.
"Seeing the citizens come up and thank me, and wave .... that to me is the most inspiring," said Andrew Jones.
Brad Dick, the city's general services department director, says all 10 crews are expected to be up and running in the next few months. They hope to be boarding up 40 houses per week by the end of September, with plans to double that rate each month until they get to 200 a week.