We can point to the negative impact of vacant properties on health, crime, property values, and other areas. We can study vacancy numbers and property tax revenues, strained public budgets, and the impacts of demolition and preservation.
But when we’re caught up in the day-to-day, it can be easy to lose sight of what’s at the heart of all the stats and all the numbers: neighbors, families, children, grandparents. Everyday people leading everyday lives, but whose everyday lives unfold on blocks marred by abandoned, blighted buildings. And everyday people who are trying to help, but who find their best efforts stymied by confusing local systems or other hurdles.
As Rick Sauer, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations, says in the interview above, “This is not just a theory out there, right? There are real people having their lives impacted.”
Check out the rest of the short video to hear Rick share the stories of residents in Philadelphia whose lives have been impacted by blight, and why it’s so important to work for systems that make it both possible and straightforward for communities to reclaim their vacant properties.
Since it is Valentine’s Day, let’s take a moment to remember what, at the heart it’s all about.