Neighborhood Group Uses Facebook to Target Slumlords
Updated: Thursday, January 31 2013, 01:59 AM EST
COLUMBUS -- A west side neighborhood group is using the power of social media to raise awareness about abandoned and vacant homes.
The Facebook group 'Columbus-Ohio Slumlord Watch' says they're tired of eyesores in their neighborhood.
"We go around and document the homes," said member Stanley Thornburgh.
Thornburgh is one of more than 150 group members that goes around taking pictures and documenting abandoned and vacant homes.
Our camera was rolling as Thornburgh documented a home near the intersection of Steele Avenue and North Chase Road. After snapping a few pictures he uploads it to the groups Facebook page. He says he cross references the Franklin County Auditor's homepage to find out who the current property owners.
"Our goal isn't to shame or embarass them," said Thornburgh. "We just want them to take ownership of their properties and do the right thing."
But not every property owner is easily found.
Even city officials say tracking down owner's is difficult, especially if they're out of state.
Columbus' Department of Development is currently demolishing homes through their Vacant and Abandoned Property Program.
"We are demolishing vacant and abandoned properties, really bad ones at a rate we've never done before," says city spokesperson Daniel Williamson.
The city says it hopes to demolish 800 homes over a four year period.
"It's a process that takes time," Williamson added.
Until the homes on Slumlord Watch's Facebook page are bulldozed or fixed up, the group says they'll continue to raise awareness by taking and posting pictures.
"We want to get the attention of community groups, outside organization, and the city," said Thornburgh.
Reporter: Dave Detling