New York State Exposed: Thousands of abandoned homes in Rochester

Updated: 07/21/2014 7:44 PM
Created: 07/21/2014 6:36 AM WHEC.com
By: Jennifer Mobilia

Abandoned homes have become a serious problem in the city of Rochester. City officials say there are more than 2,400 homes that owners have simply walked away from and stopped maintaining. Now those abandoned homes are causing serious problems for people who live next door. 

Neighbors and community action groups say they're outraged. They say the city isn't doing enough to hold property owners accountable. They say the blight is inviting crime, decreasing their property value and attracting rodents.   

Corrine Irving, Borchard Street resident, said, "You got to keep poison down to keep mice out of your house, you got to do something."

Corrine Irving says she's fed up with the seven abandoned homes surrounding her home on Borchard Street. She says she's called the city countless times to complain, but nothing is ever done.  

Irving said, "Tear them down because people have stolen everything in them.”

Nate Ellison, Group 14621, said, "Broken windows, pipes are stolen and grass is over grown. It is just a big headache."

Nate Ellison is a real estate agent, who also works with Group 14621 Community Association.  He says residents have been calling on the city to demolish these zombie homes for years.    

Ellison said, “They are an eyesore, they attract crime, the house is empty, people come in there to sleep sometimes, like the homeless, they do drugs.”

News10NBC found that there are currently 2,400 abandoned homes within the city of Rochester.  Only 320 of those homes are scheduled to be demolished. In nearby Buffalo, the city has spent more than $180 million to demolish 5,000 abandoned homes since 2006. They say they still have 5,000 more to go.  

So what's the hold up in Rochester?  Mayor Lovely Warren says it costs about $20,000 to demolish one home.  

Mayor Lovely Warren, City of Rochester, said, "We're looking at this problem across the board. We recognize that we have a lot of structures that we need to deal with here and we're doing everything we can do to that."

But for neighbors like Corrine Irving, who's dealing with crime and rodents on a daily basis that answer is getting old. So News10NBC asked the mayor if there are any homes on her street that are abandoned. 

Warren said, "Actually, there's one home that was few years ago was foreclosed on and it was right at the corner, but someone purchased it and people are living there now.”

So what can you do about this problem?  Call the mayor's office and let her know you want these homes torn down and these neighborhood revitalized.  Her number is 428-7045. In the meantime, if you see an abandoned home that needs to be secured, you can call 311 and the city will send someone out within 24 hours to address the problem.

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