I finished reading the [Sept. 3 Forefront column] from Samuel Odle and couldn’t agree more that the abandoned homes issue poses many challenges for the neighborhoods, residents and overall Indianapolis community. However, I felt compelled to offer a fourth solution.
At Crown Hill Funeral Home and Cemetery, we have partnered with New Life Development, a not-for-profit organization that does re-entry. Crown Hill provides funds to New Life to purchase and refurbish abandoned homes. New Life in turn utilizes these properties to train and employ ex-convicts in its program.
Once a property is complete, it is put into New Life’s rental pool to provide ongoing revenue to help support New Life’s mission. Through this approach not only are properties refurbished and put back into the housing pool, thus reducing blight, but the process of doing so also employs the hardest-to-employ labor pool in these economic times, improving not only the neighborhoods but also helping reduce crime by providing a second chance to people through construction training and employment.
Other businesses, organizations and individuals should look into such arrangements to improve blighted neighborhoods due to abandoned homes and lack of employment for residents.