South Bend Mayor declares action be taken on vacant and abandoned housing problem

A push for rehabilitating vacant homes throughout the city of South Bend was one of the main strategies featured in a new report released Wednesday morning.

A special task force task called for one thousand vacant and abandoned homes to be "taken care of" in the next one thousand days.

The action that will be taken includes both demolitions and rehabilitations.

The Mayor stressed that it would require support from private and non-profit partners.

A home in 900 block of Cottage Grove Ave. illustrates the kind of team effort the task force hopes to see spread throughout areas plagued by vacant homes.

"This house in particular was a house that neighbors had worked hard to get a demolition order against because they thought there was no solution for it," said Karen Ainsley, executive director of Near Northwest Neighborhood Inc. (NNN).

A red "for sale" sign stands out on the home's snowy lawn. NNN was able to work with county commissioners and the city to get funds and repair the property.

"You look at it now and its a terrific property," South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg said. "I think it is going to have a family moving in."

The report also details strategies like categorizing each vacant property, stepping up code enforcement, creating land banks and the re-purposing of certain houses for public use.

There will also be a public meeting on the abandon property situation Wednesday night.

It will be from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Washington High School.

To read the full report, click here

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