Shelby County moves to combat abandoned homes - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Shelby County moves to combat abandoned homes

(WMC-TV) - Overgrown grass, broken windows, and graffiti on an abandoned home in Northaven is creating all types of worries for neighbors like Anneshia Mcknight.

"I feel like they need to clean it up and stuff so people can at least, when they drive by, they won't feel like there is a lot of violence and stuff going on around here," McKnight said.

Abandoned homes are attracting gangs from across the Mid-South. Now, Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell is stepping in to help tackle the problem.

"Often times abandoned houses, or what we call blighted properties, are used as congregational ports for criminal activity," Luttrell said.

Shelby County's mayor is currently working with the county attorney to research every ordinance and loophole they can to make sure property owners are held responsible and brought to court as soon as possible.

"There is a very elaborate legal process of notification and trying to identify who the property owner is, assess the condition of the property to see if it warrants or meets standards for immediate occupancy or action," he said.

Luttrell said Shelby County currently gives property owners a set amount of time to fix their properties, but sometimes owners don't respond. Luttrell hopes to put a stop to that.

It's welcome news for residents like McKnight who are scared of gangs and the recent shootings and break-ins in their community.

"I feel like it should be cleaned up, because it it's not cleaned up it's making the neighborhood look bad," she said.

Luttrell said Shelby County plans to work with the Tennessee General Assembly to try to expedite the process.

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