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Identifying vacant, condemned housing in Greensboro

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- People who live near abandoned or condemned housing in Greensboro would like to see the units cleaned up and repurposed.

City Code Enforcement works with the Greensboro Police Department to identify problem properties and prevent criminal activity such as drugs and prostitution.

Officer Larry Roberts explained how the entities have teamed up, and he says they have worked together more efficiently over the last year. "If they find a problem inspecting a house with drug-related issues, then they'll contact us and we'll take it from there. Or if we go to a certain situation where there's an open and vacant house and we need it boarded up or condemned, then they'll step in."

Brett Byerly with the Greensboro Housing Coalition says vacant units are a problem for the entire neighborhood, not just the property owners involved.

"It depresses their property values for one thing. Then they have to worry about their kids coming over and playing on broken glass, lead hazards from paint, peeling paint, criminals that might occupy these properties," Byerly pointed out.

Neighbors like Lila Waynick, who lives across from one such vacant property on Kearsey Street, would love to see the properties renovated and rented out as affordable housing.

"When I moved here in '88 that property across the street was full, vibrant, beautiful," she remembers. "Now, it's just a waste… it just looks terrible over there. You didn't want anybody coming in your neighborhood seeing one property with such disarray."

The City of Greensboro identified about 360 condemned and/or boarded up housing units citywide. 177 of those are in one building: Heritage House. 90 of those units are part of a partnership with Greensboro police, who help monitor the units for any criminal activity.