Detroit woman surrounded by blighted homes doesn't feel safe

- After investing in the neighborhood, one Detroit resident is fed up with waiting for the city to do what it promised and tear down blighted homes on his block.

He was told the homes would be torn down when he invested in the neighborhood, but two years later he's still waiting.

"I just don't feel safe," said the home's renter, Dena.

She says two abandoned houses sit between on her home on Goddard Street. One is on the demo list and the other one can be purchased and rehabilitated, according to the city's Land Bank Authority.

"As you clearly see, this has fallen off of the window, and anyone can get hurt," Dena said.

The owner of the house bought it two years ago and took it off the demo list, saying he was promised the two abandoned homes would be torn down soon after. However, Dena has been renting the home - and says nothing has been done.

"We shouldn't have to live like or near anything like this," she said.

"Voicing my opinion, that house just needs to go," said Champagne Hicks, who lives on Goddard Street.

Residents are not only bothered by the eye sore, but also the potential dangers.

"Kids play on this block. They could get hurt going in the houses," Dena said. "No one wants to be surrounded by two abandoned houses where you don't know if anyone is in there or not."

"We've been trying and trying to get this house knocked down, and nobody help," Hicks said.

Dena says in the past two years, she has not seen anyone who appears to be from the city of Detroit come to the area to check out the property.

"No inspectors," she said. "They cut the lawn every once in a while, outside of that, it's up to my neighbors and me."

"In my position, she may or may not notice me passing by," said Erin Harris, District 3 manager. "I do a lot of ride-throughs. It's possible she may not have seen me come by, but I am very familiar with that block,"

The Land Bank Authority took ownership of the house in 2014. In May of 2016, they got the rights to expand the zones in the city, including the neighborhood, using federal funding.

It's on the long list of properties that still need to be torn down. City officials say there is a process to demolishing a house.

"Because of public health issues, we have to put it through the asbestos survey, as soon as we get that back, it should not take long," Harris said. "And then we will put it out. We do not have an exact date, but in a couple of weeks, it should be torn down."

"It should be torn down faster. We should not have to wait. That's why people move," Dena said.

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