“Zombie” properties haunt Austin (Austin Talks)

A group of community organizers worked from the end of 2012 into the spring of 2013 cleaning out an abandoned two-flat at 4824 W. Van Buren St.

The goal was to provide two families with housing once renovations were complete. But soon the developer discovered a host of issues. Because the water had not been turned off, the basement had flooded, the roof needed to be repaired and all the fixtures were missing.

And the furnace, pipes, toilet and bathtub had also been removed from the property.

This is just one example of what occurs among hundreds of properties on the West Side.

Elce Redmond, an organizer with the South Austin Community Coalition Council, said as soon as the banks come in and board up these properties, the scavengers appear.A group of community organizers worked from the end of 2012 into the spring of 2013 cleaning out an abandoned two-flat at 4824 W. Van Buren St.

The goal was to provide two families with housing once renovations were complete.

But soon the developer discovered a host of issues. Because the water had not been turned off, the basement had flooded, the roof needed to be repaired and all the fixtures were missing.

And the furnace, pipes, toilet and bathtub had also been removed from the property.

This is just one example of what occurs among hundreds of properties on the West Side.

Elce Redmond, an organizer with the South Austin Community Coalition Council, said as soon as the banks come in and board up these properties, the scavengers appear.

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