Winnipeg residents raise concerns over abandoned homes

Last week we were shown the dangers vacant and abandoned homes can bring to a neighbourhood when they are improperly boarded up. Mike Albanese went on a tour with one resident who says it's time for the city to demolish them.

By Mike Albanese

As vacant homes that have been boarded up attract squatters and illegal activity, some residents are calling on the city to be more proactive to make their neighborhoods safer.

CityNews spoke to some residents last week about the safety concerns, now, a resident explains the dangers.

RELATED: Winnipeggers concerned over growing number of vacant homes

“This has been ripped open so many times already, look how dangerous this is,” explained Vivian Ketchum, a volunteer helping to identify vacant and illegally boarded-up homes.

She’s ventured inside these two homes on William Avenue, homes that have both visibly been broken into and burned.

“I’ve called 311, I’ve called police about these ones specifically. You can’t walk around here after a certain hour, like 10 o’clock.”

Ketchum says the reason you can’t walk around, is because the homes become havens for illegal activity. Blood can be seen on the floor of some buildings and Ketchum says it’s always accompanied by drug paraphernalia.

She says the impact of increased criminal activity brought upon by vacant and abandoned homes, is the direct reason a corner store across the street she used to frequent closed down.

We found what appears to be human teeth and needles outside of it, along with the make-shift tools she says leads to these buildings burning down.

“There is blood all over there, blood all over here.”

“How easy would it be to drag a kid into one of these places? You wouldn’t be able to hear or see them, a lot of kids walk by here, you saw all the needles there,” added Ketcham.

She says she once saved a cat from a garage that was tied up and left to die. Explaining the door was pried off and the garage used for shelter with a mattress and more needles, the yard of the vacant, abandoned property was littered with new trash.

“These homes cause nothing but trouble. People going in and out of them all the time, at night, it makes it dangerous for all of us in the area.”

Ketchum says some homes are beyond proper boarding up, and the city needs to deal with them urgently, to make neighbourhoods safer.

“We tried boarding them up, boards come off. It’s obvious, it’s been two years, the owners are not fixing them up, tear them down!”

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