Taking Back Our Neighborhoods: Neighbor Survey - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Joe Birch

Taking Back Our Neighborhoods: Neighbor Survey

Is there an abandoned house on your block you'd like to see demolished? 

There's a new way to truly do something about it thanks to the U of M and the city.

They have teamed up to create a citywide problem property audit.

But they need volunteers like you to help.

A suspected crack house burned on January 2nd at 696 Looney in Uptown.

T.K. Buchanan of the U of M's Center for Community Building and Neighborhood Action leads a team documenting Memphis' problem properties.
"It's a public health crisis. A child could be hurt very easily. Children gravitate to these properties,"  Buchanan said.

The University now invites neighborhood associations citywide to audit where messes like the burnout exist.

Volunteers are being invited to do so-called "Neighborhood by Neighbor"  windshield surveys from the comfort of their cars.

"We're asking neighborhood associations to come together as a group, organize an audit team. 2 or 3 people per car. We'll provide the technical training, the skills, any type of resources they might need," Christin Reader of the U of M Neighborhood Action team said.

With only one hour of training, volunteers will learn how to operate an ultra-light computer.    

A pre-loaded neighborhood map with satellite photos allows volunteers to document where the troubled structures are located.

Because volunteers who know neighborhoods best will do the surveys, they can add all kinds of insights on the computer's questionnaire about each address.

The ultra-light includes a built-in camera to photograph each trouble spot.
"The calvary is not coming. We have to rise up and take care of these problems. We can't continue top wait for somebody else to fix this," Buchanan said.

Once the surveys are completed, neighborhoods will be able to decide which problem properties should be demolished first. Giving code enforcement a priority list determined not by city government but citizens determined to take back our neighborhoods.

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