HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — Harris County Public Health is expanding efforts to reduce nuisance properties across the area.
The county’s Neighborhood Nuisance Abatement program has received additional funding allowing them to clear out more homes considered eye sores.
The program has received $3 million in funding from the American Recovery Act. The funds will allow the county to step in when a property owner is out of compliance.
"So now this funding will allow Harris County to go in these areas and actually take care of these properties ... clean them up ourselves ... if there is a home that needs to be demolished,” Harris County Public Health's Scott Jeansonne said.
As a result of the funding, the county released more than a dozen homes cleared by the courts set to be demolished sometime next month. One of those homes is on Lockland Lane in the Heather Glenn neighborhood off SH-249.
"This house has been like this for the last 10-plus years. The neighbor here cuts some of the grass so it won’t be such an eye sore to his property,” neighbor Janice Lemuel said.
Lemuel said the home -- which is covered with graffiti, weeds and broken windows -- has raised several health and safety concerns.
“We had a squatter that used to go in there. I don’t know how you get in there, but he was little enough to get in there," Lemuel said.
Victory Luck also lives in the neighborhood. She said multiple complaints have been made to the county.
"We’re just tired of it. Look at the weeds and the grass, the rodents and the roaches," Luck said.
The county said the additional funding will help expedite the process but said getting the property paperwork cleared can take time.
"There is still a fairly lengthy process that we have to go through because private property laws in the state of Texas are very strong," Jeansonne said.
Lemuel said it’s a day she’s been patiently waiting for.
“I'm happy. It would be a blessing to our neighborhood," Lemuel said.
The county will have the funding over the next four years. During that period, they plan to abate about 1,100 homes.