Dozens of homes demolished and rehabbed as part of vacant and abandoned initiative

South Bend, Ind. Since kicking off in February, South Bend's vacant and abandoned homes initiative has eliminated dozens of eye sores in neighborhoods throughout the city.

On Thursday, city leaders held a meeting to update residents on the progress of the program. Mayor Pete Buttigieg has set an ambitious goal of tackling 1,000 vacant or abandoned homes in 1,000 days.

What may be surprising is more homes have been repaired than torn down. So far, 26 have been demolished and 49 have been rehabbed.

"I was really encouraged they were taking steps to determine if there are some that need some repairs and that could also be reused and put back into the land bank," said Consuella Hopkins, who lives and works near several vacant homes.

The city wants to ramp the program up next year and address at least 200 homes. In order to do so, they're asking for $2 million.

Most of that money will be used for demolitions. But, not all the homes that are taken down will be total losses.

"Deconstruction is an initiative that would allow us to generate about 12 jobs and individuals would learn skills about dismantling a house," said Director of Code Enforcement Shubhada Kambli.

Any materials salvaged from the home would then be resold.

While the city continues to move forward with the program, they are dealing with a slight hiccup.

Code Enforcement works with H.U.D. to do block-by-block assessments of properties. But, because of the federal government shutdown, that research process has been halted.

But, the shutdown won't impact the demolition of any homes.

More than 100 homes on the demo list will go out for bid in November.


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