Abandoned homes to stay in Yakima

Abandoned homes to stay in Yakima
YAKIMA, Wash.-- Abandoned homes covered in graffiti are a constant eyesore here in Yakima. For years, the city used grant money to get rid of them. Now, that money is disappearing. Two new homes sit here on a spot that used to have an old abandoned building.

"It was a boarded up home that had tagging written all over it and it just was an eyesore to look at," said Jessica Alvarez, who lives next door.

Yakima's Neighborhood Development Department used grant money to demolish the building and build the new homes. Jessica says she feels safer now that the squatters who used to live there are gone.

"It's kind of scary to have that kind of random random people going into places like that," she said.

There are still plenty of old buildings squatters can take advantage of and Yakima's running out of grant money to tear them down. Whatever money that's left is being used to finish projects already underway. Nothing new is planned this year. For the city, this means they don't have the funding to fix or demolish or rebuild and rebuild buildings that have been abandoned and boarded up. For you, that means looking at these eyesores for at least another year.

Neighborhood development built more than a dozen new homes over the last two years. But, the federal grant used to do this work is gone and no longer available. Another option would be grants from private foundations, but the city won't pursue those.

So far, Yakima is not willing to hire someone needed to apply for the different grants.

"They should keep funding for that because it's just, like I said it just builds communities," Alvarez said.

She's seen how it can build hers. Other grants that don't require detailed applications are available. That money can be used for community projects like graffiti removal, just not demolition or construction. Those projects will continue.