HOUSTON--Residents at the Winfield 1 Condominiums have worked out a deal to pay for the demolition of the property, but there are thousands more in the city that fall in the same category.

Several fires have left the property largely gutted. Although vacant for the last four years, it s been a haven for drug dealing and prostitution.

This is like a cancer on the neighborhood. We had a murder on our property about a year ago. There was a murder next door. I can t tell you how much crime we ve had, said resident Lisa Lum.

Lum says the people who live here deserve better, and they took a step in that direction as Mayor Annise Parker delivered a ceremonial first blow to the decaying condos.

This is like you have an infected wound, and you have to clean the wound to keep that infection from spreading, said Parker.

For former condo owner Phyliss Scott, the moment was bittersweet.

It has really impacted m y life, because now I have to start over, because this is my savings that I ve spent over here for my kids to be secure, said Scott.

There are 7,000 properties in Houston that need to be demolished and a $15 million bond referendum on the ballot this election would go a long way to tearing them down.

If you approve Proposition E on the ballot, we ll be able to bring other neighborhoods back to life, said Senator Rodney Ellis.

If the bond referendum passes, the city says the money will be used to tear down dangerous properties, making way for new affordable housing.

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