Rochester works to eliminate zombie homes

    There are nearly 600 zombie homes in Monroe County. (WHAM photo)

    Rochester, N.Y. - The City of Rochester is working to eliminate the growing number of zombie homes.

    The City kicked off an initiative with Flower City Habitat for Humanity Thursday.

    According to Habitat for Humanity, zombie homes account for more than $11 million in property value losses in Monroe County, where there are nearly 600 zombie homes.

    “When you see stuff like that-that’s what harbors crime in the neighborhood, too," said Suzzette Brown, who lives across the street from a zombie home. "Then, you got people who are on drugs who sometimes want to go stay on the property, and it’s not good.”

    Brown has lived on Del Monte Street for 18 years, and in front of a boarded up home for the past four years.

    “I feel like when you got homes like that across the street, it brings down the value of property of the street," she said. "I feel like they need to tear it down.”

    Luckily for her, that abandoned house is one of five that the city and Habitat for Humanity is gutting and renovating by the end of the year.

    The first home to be completed is 221 Akron Street. It sat vacant and abandoned for nearly 6 years.

    "I don’t think any improvements had been made in 50 or 60 years on it,” said Barb Amrhein, who lives next door.

    Dainon Kubrich recalls when the house was an eyesore.

    "And, almost in shambles," he said. "It was just really old siding, everything was falling apart, broken, boarded up windows. It’s just total transformation.”

    A mother and her young child are already set to move in once work is completed at the Akron Street home.

    "When there's a home, and you have volunteers that come in and recreate, rehabilitate like you see here, it is absolutely wonderful for the community overall," said Rochester Deputy Mayor Dr. Cedric Alexander.

    "What's really important is that really it just uplifts our community, our entire block, and that's what we're all very excited about," Alexander said.

    Those renovations are expected to be complete by the end of 2018.

    There are plans to buy and renovate more zombie Homes in 2019.

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