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Abandoned homes in west central neighborhood to become low-income housing

SPOKANE, Wash. - A handful of rundown homes in Spokane's west central neighborhood are on their way to becoming low-income housing. Spokane Police Department announced earlier this week, they're making progress towards turning five abandoned houses into safe, affordable homes.

In the past two years, the condition of the homes have gotten dramatically worse, becoming a nuisance to the neighborhood. Some will remember the five houses, they used to be on Maple and Ash. They were moved when Mega Car Wash was built.

"It's been chaotic, because there is always people. There's always something left behind that we're having to pick up," said Grace Duxbury, she lives next to one of the five abandoned homes. "Every couple days, everyday. There's always somebody over there or you see somebody just dumping something."

This house was moved a couple years ago and almost immediately turned into a nuisance for the neighborhood.

"It just turned into people constantly walking over on the side, and so we'd be like - well, there's somebody out there," Duxbury said.

It's a pretty chronic issue ever since for this woman and her family who live right next door.

"Especially during the summertime, I think people just kind of camp out in there. We've heard music a couple different times pretty late," Duxbury said.

The house started drawing squatters, and this woman has even heard of needles being found.

"It's kind of sad, but once something's left like that. It's kind of just a natural thing for people to just take over," Duxbury said.

There are two houses on Boone, one on Maxwell, and two more on Sharp.

"Building official declared them to be abandoned, sub-standard, unfit for human habitation," said Matthew Folsom, assistant city attorney for the City of Spokane.

Because of all of the above reasons, the houses were ordered demolished. But the city wanted to avoid that route.

"The cost of the demolition would get attached to those vacant lots. The structures have already been moved and new foundation has been poured, so we don't want to undo the work that's already been done," Folsom said.

For the people heading this project, they said it's a practical way of turning a negative into a positive. 

"That's going to make a healthier, safer neighborhood," Folsom said.

Getting back to what was once a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

"It's really nice that it's going to be taken care of, because it's sad to see that there are so many place that are vacant, when there are families that need someplace to stay," Duxbury said.

There is still more work to be done behind the scenes before we start seeing any movement on the houses. The owner of the homes is still looking for non-profits to partner with. Once that happens, we'll start seeing some progress on fixing up these homes.


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