Waterbury, Conn. (WTNH) - Local residents who are fed up with the unsightly homes in their Waterbury neighborhood, are hoping that a meeting that was held Tuesday night will help bring about a solution.
Neighbors say one of the homes has been boarded up for three to four years, has locks on the door, but that doesn't keep people out. Neighbors say they go in through the window and use it for prostitution and drugs.
While they are hopeful that the meeting is a step in the right direction, many in the neighborhood are still skeptical.
"They came and boarded up the windows and the doors to no avail," said Carolyn Hooker, "and the squatters have taken the boards off the doors and windows. They have never set it on fire, but they use it."
Hooker's house is surrounded by blighted buildings and every day she cleans up the filth the buildings bring into her yard.
"I find dime bags in my yard every day, and used condoms too," said Hooker. "So any house that is left to their use, they will use it."
Someone dumped hundreds of tires in her back yard. The house next door is boarded up, the next house is also boarded up. Another house on her block has been abandoned for more than 16 years and she says she doesn't have much faith in meetings anymore.
"Just words at a meeting," said Hooker, "just words at a meeting, that's all it is."
However, hundreds came to work with the mayor and the city to try and clean up the blight together.
"I am hoping everybody can work together and join as one because it's not only one person who can do something," said Justin Walter. " We all have to come together to have a successful outcome."
"A lot of these properties are foreclosed on," said Mayor Neil O'Leary, " so we will be taking them at tax auctions and then we will either rehabilitate them or demo them and sell them to people who want to develop."
In the end, it all comes down to money as many of the buildings are abandoned and the owners are no longer responsible for them. The city will need to come up with the money to knock down the buildings, and that can cost five to $10,000 per building.
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