photo: WWJ/Charlie Langton

City Forces Cleanup Of Junk-Filled Home In Warren

June 20, 2018 - 1:32 pm

WARREN (WWJ) - Clean-up day is set for Thursday at a residence in Warren, whether the homeowner wants it or not.

A district judge has ordered blight buster crews to remove junk from inside and outside the home on the 3600 block of Los Angeles, near 9 Mile Road and Warren Avenue.

In the front yard alone, WWJ's Charlie Langton observed a motorcycle, stacks of bricks, a broken handicap ramp, tools, pieces of wood, chunks of concrete, buckets and piles of other junk. It's even worse in the back yard and inside the home, he said.

A judge ordered the cleanup, saying the home displayed excessive blight. Mayor Jim Fouts, who is overseeing the cleanup effort, says the court order is part of a city-wide effort to remove blight from neighborhoods. The city says the owner has ignored multiple notices to clean up his property, so they're taking matters into their own hands -- and sending him the bill.

"I've tried to be fair but the residents in that neighborhood deserve our help as well and they have been waiting a long time to get help and get rid of the rats," Fouts said, in a Facebook post. 

Neighbors are glad someone is finally taking action. 

"He's got a lot of stuff in the yard, that's all I know, and he's got the house tore up looking. It's a mess," said one neighbor, who did not want to be named.

"It's not very good when you see all that junk piling up, and probably rats everywhere," said Shirley, who lives across the street. 

Late Wednesday morning, Fouts said he'd decided to give the resident a week or so more to clean up himself, as he's a Vietnam veteran with health problems. At that time, multiple residents stepped forward via social offering to help, and Fouts said the city would help organize a volunteer effort.

A short time later, however, the mayor backtracked, posting on Facebook: "As originally posted and after further investigation we will proceed with the planned clean up later on this week. THURSDAY at 10AM." 

In response to resident questions, Fouts said that further investigation found the man, who bought the house a year ago, "is a hoarder and unwilling to cooperate."

"He does need physical and mental health which we will provide him with," the mayor added. "He does not occupy the house and he stays with his roommate next door. He was not in Vietnam but was in the army only for two years. We learned about all of this after our investigation. It does appear that he would NOT be cooperative with volunteers. He has owned the house for a year but never occupied the house. Using the house for inside and outside storage."

The home has been declared uninhabitable until it passes an inspection.