It takes a neighborhood and then some. . .

dangerMany of you know that for the past eight months or so I have been struggling with the house next to me.  It is the one to the north. It has been occupied by drug addicts, drug dealers, alcoholics and prostitutes. The problem existed before I moved here and was a serious blight in a wonderful neighborhood. My block is typical of the east side neighborhoods in Lake Worth with older homes, most of which are well maintained or renovated. Most of the east side of the block is owned by a church. A kindergarten is directly across from me. As I write this I can hear children playing and singing. Sometimes at night the church choir practices in a building across the street and their music floats through my windows. In short this block embodies everything good about Lake Worth.

All except this one house.

The absentee landlord was incurring code violation penalties of $150.oo per day. The tenants had their power and water shut off, only to install a stolen electric meter and break the lock to turn the water back on. Prostitutes and drug buyers came and went at all hours. It steadily grew worse and worse.

But the neighborhood was not going to stand for it, and on December 31st the building was declared unfit for human occupancy.And the city is moving to foreclose on the property.

It has been a long process and it’s not quite over as the tenants still come around and have not removed all their belongings and are drawing out the process. But the end is in sight.

How did this happen? Many people decided that they would not allow this in their neighborhood and worked with each other, the police (now Sheriff’s dept.), code and any other avenue open to them.

I want to thank everyone who stood up, took the time and contributed to this:

Donna, my neighbor and friend. Fearless and seemingly tireless, she kept the pressure on day after day.

Wes, helped get the ball rolling with the apartment building two houses down.

Sheriff’s Deputy Mike, dedicated to this neighborhood.

All of the other Deputies and officers who responded to the seemingly countless calls.

Code enforcement, in the end they got the job done.

Mike, Curtis, Steve, Chuck, Rowan, Lyn, Charles, Harry and every other neighbor who did not back down.

I am grateful that all these people contributed to this outcome.

Thank you to each and every one of you.

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