Absentee owners and mismanagement of many apartment complexes over the years contribute the the decline in property values. Ollie Perry lives near several abandoned complexes in northwest Houston.
“Candle light Trails , when the Near Northwest District worked with other city agencies to get that closed down, they found that most of the units were occupied by people that weren’t supposed to be there. They had squatters and lots of other criminal element that was in there. And when they shut it down, they were able to remove that element from that particular community. Next to that, you have the Candlewood Glen, which is kind of in the same situation. They’ve identified 12 actual units that are legally occupied and all of the others remain open to the public. They’re wide open with broken windows and doors.”
He’s launched a website called Houston SuperBlock-DOT-COM, hoping to catch the attention of Houston city hall to take quicker action:
“There are four properties that are either vacant or have been closed by the city of Houston, and they’re bringing down property values and creating havens for crime.”
“I applaud the efforts of Mr. Perry and his colleagues and certainly continue to encourage him.”
The properties in question are located in Houston city CM Jarvis Johnson’s district. He is aware of the properties being highlighted on Perry’s website.
“The Desoto area was a beautiful area but, unfortunately it has deteriorated, and the owners have grasped at any person who would simply pay a monthly note. Whatever that monthly note would be, they were just looking for money.”
CM Johnson says the task of dealing with abandoned property is never easy.
“It is a struggle but, in order for us to be able to help, we’re going to have to work with these apartment owners to find out what investment are they willing to make to turn this thing around. From a city standpoint, what investment we’re willing to make. But they have to make the investment of security, lighting, aesthetics, they have to all the things that they need to do.”
Perry says he hopes his website will serve to facilitate the process to remove the eyesore.
“The city of Houston needs to wake up to what’s going on with all these apartment complexes that surround really great neighborhoods that are trying to do things right.”
Johnson says it takes time to convince people to move back to the inner city.
“Because I think once you start doing that, then people are more encouraged, then you start finding businesses coming back into your neighborhoods, jobs coming back into your neighborhoods, young people have something to do, that’s the model for a great neighborhood.”
Pat Hernandez, KUHF…Houston Public Radio News.