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Miami Addresses Hundreds of Vacant Homes - KOAM TV 7

Miami Addresses Hundreds of Vacant Homes

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MIAMI, OKLAHOMA -

There are 600 vacant homes in Miami, Oklahoma. Many are now in dis-repair and uninhabitable. 

One vacant home in Miami set to be demolished, according to real estate broker Brian Johnson, "Has asbestos siding. As well I can see exposed wood, potential structural issues. The home is just not salvageable."

Johnson doesn't have any involvement with the property, but says vacant housing in similar shape is an issue in the city. Johnson says over time neglected homes become eyesores, to the point where it isn't cost-effective for current or potential property owners to fix or demolish the house.

"The problem we run into is the value of the lot doesn't justify the cost of getting rid of the property," Johnson said. 

Miami city manager, Dean Kruithof, attributes the roughly 600 vacant homes to a stagnant population over three decades, and exacerbated by flooding, like in 2007.

"What we're really trying to do is turn the ship around," Kruithof said.

Over the past year-plus the city has made a concerned effort to address vacants which have become public nuisances, homes which won't be filled because they're unlivable, by strengthening code enforcement and reaching out to the property owners. 

"Properties which have become dilapidated, we'll ask [owners] if they want to fix it up or it they'd like the city to assist them in demolishing the property," director of emergency management Glenda Longan said.

"We're not calling it code enforcement, we're calling it code compliance," Kruithof said. "And that is trying to work with property owners to see what we might be able to do to bring those properties around or to take those properties out."

For the vacant homes that aren't beyond saving, Miami is trying to get them into the hands of citizens who would develop them.

"Get [people] into [them] for little to no cost with the promise that they would be renovating those homes," Kruithof said. 

"Any time you have vacant homes within your community it doesn't look good," Johnson said. "But I have high hopes for the future."

City officials say there are several developers in talks to bring new housing to Miami, which is also a goal as the vacant housing is removed or repaired.

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