The issue of vacant and abandoned properties has been a major concern for South Bend, and cities like us, throughout the Midwest. The economic shocks of past decades, combined with population shifts and changes in the housing market, have combined to leave communities like ours with more houses than families can fill. Many properties are teetering on the brink between demolition and rehabilitation.
On February 27, 2013, with the release of the Vacant & Abandoned Properties Task Force Report, Mayor Buttigieg called for 1,000 abandoned houses to be addressed in 1,000 days. The Mayor explained that the 1,000 properties would be addressed through a combination of programs focused on both rehabilitation and demolition.
The City reached its goal in September; about two months ahead of schedule. By day 1,000 the City had taken action on 1,122 properties, nearly 40% of which were repaired. With the achievement of our goal, the issue of vacant and abandoned houses is no longer at a critical stage and is now at a manageable level.
Looking ahead, the City is working to address the new challenge of moving vacant lots into productive uses and further strengthening our neighborhoods. In early December 2015, the Mayor and city staff highlighted lessons learned and a path forward on abandoned houses. View the presentation here.