It's not just an Evansville problem, it's a statewide problem. According to the Housing and Community Development Authority, Indiana has the highest percentage of abandoned foreclosed homes in the country. However, legislation before the General Assembly aims to address the growing problem.
In many cases, officials say the problem is a state law that requires a new property owner to wait one year if their new home is purchased at a tax sale. It's called a redemption period. Until that period has expired, the property often remains untouched and falls into disrepair. State Representative Justin Moed (D-Indianapolis) proposed legislation that would allow the homebuyers to take immediate ownership of the property and make repairs to bring it up to code.
In the 600 block of Adams Ave., the legislation is welcome news.
"That house was owned by one man who had it as a boarding house. As time went on, he sold it to someone else and they didn't do anything with it so it became abandoned again," said Robert Hayes as he referenced the neighboring house. "It's an open door for homeless people to stay in. They have closed the door off but they still break the glass and get in them."
Ben Miller of Evansville's Building Commission says his office will keep an eye on the legislation and welcomes the discussion. As for a potential impact on the blighted property problem in Evansville, Miller says it's too soon to tell.
Miller says many abandoned properties go un-sold at the first tax sale. Once this happens, the property is transferred over to the County Commission and the tax liens on the property are wiped clean, Miller said.