Vacant homes cause problems on Missouri Street

Vacant homes cause problems on Missouri Street
Vacant homes on the 100 block of East Missouri Street has some neighbors worried about their safety.

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Vacant homes on the 100 block of East Missouri Street has some neighbors worried about their safety.

People are finding ways into empty homes even if they are boarded up.

Mark Chandler has lived on that block for decades, but with vacant houses attracting unwanted guests into the neighborhood, he says it doesn’t feel like home.

“There are homeless people going in and out, dope-heads going in and out. It’s been boarded up before, but the windows are open on the porch and people are crawling in," Chandler said.

Chandler said he worries about children’s safety now and with increased drug activity, he has seen syringes laying on the ground. He also believes these houses may be a potential fire hazard.

“I’m afraid it’s going to catch on fire, and the house next door is not even a foot away. There’s children living in that house. These houses are over a 100-years-old and they’ll go up like a tinder box," Chandler said.

Vanderburgh County Building Commissioner Ron Beane said one of the homes was secured back in March, but it’s still common for people to get back in.

“We’ll have a vacant property and we’ll keep having to secure it and re-secure it because people are looking for a place to get in and either get out of the weather or involve themselves in some activity that they don’t want people seeing," Beane said.

Chandler wishes that these homes could just be torn down, but Beane says that is usually a last resort. The building commission checks on the progress of homes every 30 to 45 days.

“And as long as we’re having engaged conversation with the property owners and we are seeing attempts at repairs, we’ll let that run for a while before we ever get to the point of thinking about tearing it down," Beane explained.

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