Detroit adds plexiglass instead of boards to windows of vacant homes that can be saved

The City of Detroit is taking a new approach to secure abandoned homes.

Instead of plywood, plexiglass is being used on the windows of vacant houses that can be saved.

"It's more welcoming, it looks better, and it justgives them a sense of security," said Tasha Sewell, the securing operations manager with the city. "The type of material it is, It's hard to break, it's hard for a thief or someone out vandalizing properties to get into it."

So far, 1,100 homes now have the glass instead of boards. About 3,000 more will be getting the glass soon.

"Sometimes people can't see the opportunity in a boarded-up structure. You just see it's blighted, it's ugly," said LaJuan Counts, the director of the Detroit Demolition Department. "We don't want them vacant the ultimate goal is to have all of those properties occupied."

Once the houses have glass, the Land Bank will sell them. In addition to making the houses look better, for the first time, Land Bank homebuyers will be able to peek inside before making the purchase.

The project is paid for through Proposal N, which is the money strategy for dealing with blighted properties.  

"To be a part of turning blight into beauty and to making these homes, rehabbing them, making them livable, turning the community back into something -- it’s all positive," Sewell said. "The neighbors, they are excited, ecstatic."