Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Advent: Restore

This is an abandoned house, one of at least three that I pass every day as I walk the dog. There used to be people who lived here, up until some time shortly after the Great Recession.

In its years of dispossession, the siding has come off the home in some places, the windows and doors on the first floor have all been boarded up, and trash has filled the side and back yards.

Given that I live in an urban area, the house probably isn't vacant. Homeless people have been known to move into empty houses, which also are frequently visited by drug dealers and their customers, and by teens looking for the easy thrill of exploring abandoned places. Opportunistic thieves probably removed anything of value years ago, including copper electric wiring and even the plumbing.

Many people who see this house probably see an eyesore and wish the city would tear it down. I see an opportunity for a nonprofit organization to rebuild the neighborhood. Imagine buying properties and restoring what time and vandals have removed. New wiring, new floors, new plumbing, new insulation, new siding, and then new residents who buy the property for nothing more than the cost of the restoration and a promise to live there for the next 25 years.

Restoring this house would take work, time and money. Probably the inside would have to be gutted. But what a thing that would be, to see a desolate property like this once more provide shelter and a home for a family with children who would play in the back yard and enliven the neighborhood.

Copyright © 2016 by David Learn. Used with permission.

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