Taking Back Our Neighborhood: Vacant house

By Joe Birch - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A neglected Midtown house infested with rats and raccoons has neighbors concerned for their safety and the safety of their children.

The well kept home of retirees Daphne and Hubert Jarvis sits right next door to the eyesore.

"The main worry I have is that it will catch fire and it would probably take our house with it if it caught fire," Hubert Jarvis said.

Vacant and neglected for a decade, the Jarvises said Code Enforcement repeatedly has threatened to demolish 23 South Morrison, but the wrecking ball never comes.

"One year, there were literally raccoons in the attic," Daphne Jarvis said.  "We could see them ... sticking their heads out."

Quintin Echols maintains the apartment complex next door and the one across South Morrison for landlord Earl Funk.

"Between rats, raccoons and every stray cat that's been around here for the last 10 years," Echols said, "I have people who don't want to rent from me because of the condition of this house."

Echols climbed up to the house to take a peek inside the molding, crumbling danger zone.

"Somebody's been here at night," Echols said.

Funk said the vacant house was a danger, particularly to children.

"The door over here is standing wide open," Funk said.  "If kids get in, they get hurt bad."

The weeds in the yard stood nearly six feet tall.  The Jarvises have quietly endured the neglect for a decade.

"I think it's kind of an embarrassment to a lot of people who know us," Hubert Jarvis said.  "They feel bad for us."

Community Enhancement Director Ernest Dobbins said the house will be boarded up Friday.  The weeds and grass will be cut and the house will be fast-tracked for demolition.

Dobbins said this case was delayed over confusion about who rightfully inherited the property.

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