High Point continues efforts to clean up housing issue

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HIGH POINT, N.C. — Grass as high as your knees. Boarded up windows. Chipped paint.

Far too many properties in High Point look like this.

However, city leaders want to change that and have made plans for those places.

“Ultimately, we want to be 100 percent proactive, which means we aren’t receiving complaints. We are the ones that are finding them,” said Michael McNair, director of Community Development & Housing.

“You know, we are not just running around trying to tear people’s houses down,” he continued.

That’s why the city spent last year identifying these properties.

Some vacant homes and buildings will be torn down but in many cases the city is using $500,000 to create a buyer incentive program.

It’s a program to attract more people to move to the city’s core.

“What we don’t want to have is we remove a house and nothing goes back in there,” said Randy Hemann, assistant city manager for community services.

When houses are torn down, the city works with the Bank of North Carolina and Habitat for Humanity to build new affordable housing there.

The city hopes to build close to 30 homes by the end of year, but knows the clean-up process is not necessarily an overnight fix.

“This is stuff that won’t happen in a year. This is not magic wand territory,” McNair stated.

As of February, the city has 211 active minimum housing cases, which is down from 240 back in July 2016.

City leaders also met with state representatives recently about potentially revisiting legislation that would make it easier for them to take control of a blighted property before it completely falls apart.

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