Mount Vernon uses grant money to tackle ‘zombie homes,’ hire workers

Mount Vernon will be tacking on of the city’s biggest issues – so-called “zombie homes.”

Nadia Galindo

Aug 31, 2022, 11:28 PM

Updated 592 days ago

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Mount Vernon will be tacking on of the city’s biggest issues – so-called “zombie homes.”
The term refers to homes that are vacant and deteriorated and whose owners are behind on mortgage payments.
Some crews were out on Wednesday weeding and sweeping away debris on Cortlandt Street.
"We got two zombie houses side by side. So, what we wanted to do is attack both of them at the same time," said sanitation foreman Ray Rodgers.
The work is part of the city’s "Love Our City" initiative.
"These properties have been neglected for many, many years,” said Mount Vernon Department of Public Works Commissioner Damani Bush. "They caused hazardous conditions throughout the city."
The zombie properties also attract rats and rodents.
Cortlandt Street resident Sylvester Masaquor says that he is happy to see the trash and weeds taken care of.
"I've lived here for almost 20 years and it’s a surprise to see this house like that,” he said.
The city has so far cleaned up 50 zombie properties since the program started last May.
The program is also aimed at employing city residents.
"I was unemployed for about two years after COVID. It was kind of hard to find jobs," said Quentin Glimore, who is cleaning up zombie properties.
Gilmore is one of 25 people hired for the six-month long seasonal job.
He takes pride in his work.
"I feel like it’s a bad representation of the city so we just trying to fix that. We want more people to move in and be proud of where you from,” said Gilmore
The city is also working to ensure these zombie properties don't become an eyesore again.
"We just hired our first zombie property coordinator, and we are working hand in hand with our building department and our planning department to make sure it’s a collaborative effort to address all of these properties.” Bush said.


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