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Addressing the nearly 14,000 abandoned homes in Marion County

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Posted at 6:05 PM, Apr 23, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS — Central Indiana residents are concerned about safety and their property values declining because they feel not enough is being done about abandoned homes in their area.

There are nearly 13,900 homes that are currently vacant, or abandoned, in Marion County. This is a story RTV6's Stephanie Wade has covered for over a year.

Around this time last year, city officials talked with RTV6 about how they're tackling the abandoned home problems across the city.

Neighbors say that a home off of Holt Road and Sam Jones Highway has sat empty ever since they can remember. "The property has been like this for 20 years maybe," Tina Graham, a resident of Mars Hill, said.

"How come it looks like we are in a third world country here?" Pete Johnson, another Mars Hill resident, asked. "It's got to stop. It just has to stop."

People who care about their neighborhood have made many reports to the Mayor's Action Center to address dilapidated, abandoned homes.

"The community organizations, the people here, they've gone as far as we can go. Now we are up against legislation," Graham said. "We've got to introduce legislation and change our laws in Indiana."

Residents can find reports online where a city inspector has been out to investigate. They handle whatever issue they can legally, such as tell the property owner they have to come into compliance, but somehow these homes remain empty and in disrepair.

"For us, we are doing what we can within the guidelines as far as the ordinance," Dimitri Kyser, Department of Business and Neighborhood Services, said. "There are times that, yes, I can honestly say that the process from those that aren't familiar with it. It does look like it's taking a bit longer."

The Department of Business and Neighborhood Services says they conduct more than 1,000 inspections a week for issues varying from high grass, building repair orders, environmental issues.

"It could be a case where the property owner maybe did come into compliance, and we closed out that violation, but then there's a new violation type," Kyser said.

The city says they try to work with property owners as much as they can, give them a certain amount of days to resolve whatever problem. But it can be especially tricky dealing with property owners or LLCs outside the state.

"When we have problems like this, our hands are tied," Kyser said.