LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) – They’re the homes nobody wants in their neighborhood; vacant, rundown with nobody stepping in to help. Since 2014, Lincoln has had a registry of neglected homes, created to help enforce city codes and officials said its been successful so far.
One of those homes is near 52nd and L Street. 10/11 NOW talked with neighbors who live in the area who said the home has been on their radar for a few years.
“I first noticed it out on a walk and wondered why there were newspapers on the front porch,” Kathy Holland, Witherbee Neighborhood Association president said. “Then I saw there were notices from LES and Black Hills Energy.”
Another neighbor said she wants to show compassion for the homeowner, but as someone who invests in real estate, this kind of property is a concern.
“It can be a safety issue,” Andrea Champoux said. “Because you never know what’s really going on there.”
The home is vacant and violating city codes.
It’s one of 15 homes across the city on the neglected properties registry. The registry was created in 2014 as a way to better enforce city codes.
“Vacant properties can have a blighting impact,” Sean Stewart, Chief Housing Inspector for the city said. “Statistics show it can also increase crime rates in these areas. Oftentimes you get things like people throwing rocks through windows, kids getting into the property through unsecured doors and people entering and doing criminal activities.
Since 2014, 95 properties have made the list. Stewart said getting it down to 15 shows the program is a success.
“We like to see that properties have housing codes repaired and repairs to the building,” Stewart said. “Whether it’s paint or roof repairs.”
Of the 15, they’re all in various points of the process, which ends with the owners getting in compliance or the city selling the property.
“Each property has its own story,” Stewart said. “The most common situations are that the home owner has died and the children haven’t been able to sell it yet or the owners are in nursing homes.”
In extreme cases the home could be demolished.
“It’s rare it gets to that point unless there’s imminent danger of that collapsing, most of the time its brought into compliance by an owner or new owner,” Stewart said.
The neighbors said all they want is to see the houses go back to being homes.
“I want to see someone buy it, bring it back to life and live in it,” Holland said.
Champoux said she’d like to see the whole community pitch in and help bring these old properties back to life.
“It’s all about beautifying Lincoln,” she said.
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