Vacant homes require limited city funds to manage - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Vacant homes require limited city funds to manage

Reverend Carl White Reverend Carl White
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Census figures show Albany has more than 3600 vacant housing units.  City officials know empty, dilapidated homes are a major problem that they don't have enough money to solve.

They say they are making progress. Some of those units are apartments and duplexes, but  city leaders say it's likely more than 1,000 structures across Albany are sitting empty right now. 

Reverend Carl White cuts the grass in the yard of a dilapidated house on Mitchell Avenue, that's already slated for demolition by the city. White says it will be good for his neighborhood.  "I think it will, because there are a number of homes in this neighborhood that are vacant.  I think it will beautify the neighborhood."

City officials say it could be close to one thousand vacant homes or housing buildings in Albany. Since 2006 they have dealt with more than 500 such homes.  Code enforcement officials say they are making progress, but have a lot more to deal with.  And the  budget for the problem is small.  

Albany Code Enforcement Director Mike Tilson said "It was $117,000. Not a lot."

These are homes that have already gone through the legal process to have the courts allow them to be demolished, and are now being prepared to come down.  Officials say the majority of the vacant homes can be blamed on the aging population.

Tilson said "A majority of the buildings that we've dealt with, the owners have been deceased." Officials say Vacant, dilapidated homes often lead to problems with vagrants, crime, and disease.  

White says he is doing what he can in his neighborhood, and welcomes the city's efforts.  White said "So we are doing the best we can to beautify the neighborhood, but it would be great if we could get these eyesores down."

Trouble is there are so many, and officials admit new ones are becoming vacant weekly. There are currently about 100 vacant and dilapidated housing units awaiting court dates to determine if the city can take action on them and the owners.

 

Copyright 2014 WALB.  All rights reserved.

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