Task force seeks solution to South Bend's vacant houses
of the numbers.
Since 1970, Maradik told a crowd Thursday night at Muessel Primary
Center, South Bend has lost more than 30,000 residents -- most to the
surrounding towns and suburbs -- resulting in an abundance of housing
Then came the de-industrialization of the economy, as factories left South Bend for locations overseas or simply closed altogether.
Then came the housing boom, when credit was cheap and homes were seen
as a commodity -- a boom that went bust, resulting in more than 6,700
foreclosures in South Bend over a seven-year period.
According to a recent count, Maradik said, there are about 1,900 vacant houses in South Bend, and at least two-thirds of them are considered abandoned.
"This is an issue that has resonated throughout the community," Mayor
Pete Buttigieg told a crowd of about 90 people who gathered Thursday
night to discuss the city's vacant housing problem at the first public meeting of the task force created to address the issue.
The 14-member task force, made up of community leaders and activists, was created by Buttigieg as part of a pledge to find a solution to the problem that has plagued the city for more than a decade.
At Thursday's public meeting, he asked for input from the audience --
saying he didn't mind hearing about problems, but was eager to also
hear about possible solutions.