This house on 3332 Hunt St., on Detroit’s East Side, is one of the most urgent cases the Abandoned Structure Squad has uncovered to date. We’re told that the house has been vacant for at least five years, serving as a haven for squatters and a refuge for drug activity. With nearly every window broken and uncovered, access is extremely easy. Outside, the property is strewn with trash, including broken bottles of Mohawk vodka, small plastic baggies and condom wrappers. While this description could fit many of the abandoned houses around Detroit, the real issue of danger here is the house’s proximity to Bunche Elementary School and the Franklin-Wright community center. Monique Marks, the executive director of Franklin-Wright Settlement, says that the situation is particularly dire as hundreds of schoolchildren walk past the house every day on their way to and from class as well as after-school programs at the community center.
“This house is not just an eyesore, it is very dangerous for all of our kids,” Marks says.
City officials have been particularly unhelpful when contacted by A.S.S., saying simply “that house is marked ‘dangerous.’”
Like we needed the city to tell us that.
Jeff Jones, community organizer for Franklin-Wright Settlement, says he has been trying to get the house torn down for at least three years by petitioning City Council and trying to cut through the city’s red tape. “This house seems to have nine lives,” he says.
The situation so distressed us that some of our squad volunteered to help Jones collect petition signatures that he could present to City Council and the bureaucrats responsible for getting homes torn down. It’s hoped that a united community appeal, along with a little A.S.S. kicking, will get the wrecking ball swinging.
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