Blight to be boarded up in one west-side neighborhood

Blight to be boarded up in one west-side neighborhood

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DETROIT (WJBK) - For Michael Watkins, this west-side Detroit neighborhood is home sweet home. He and his wife spend much of their time keeping it clean and trying to keep the crime out.

"There is a lot of robberies going on, squatting in houses. Everything is going on over in here. Stealing cars, breaking into houses, it's just ridiculous over here," says Queen Watkins.

Which is why they are applauding an effort set for Saturday organized by The Detroit Action Commonwealth. The group and its many volunteers plan to board up the blight on Colfax.

"What we are going to do is make sure these properties [are not] on your channel saying that they found someone or someone has been violated over in these areas. So, we are going to make sure these areas get cleaned up and these houses get boarded up and so that we make sure the area is safe for the kids," says chairperson Kelsey Ellis.

On the top of their list are three abandoned homes, three eyesores that are just inviting trouble.

"One of the people from the DAC live in that area and she runs people off the street. She says, 'No, not here. It's not going to happen here.' And we need more people to do that. People are afraid but sometimes you have to step outside your comfort zone," says DAC member Kathryn Carbin.

And, sometimes you have to be willing to get dirty.

The DAC's been doing this kind of work on the city's east side for the past three years.

Now they are extending their reach to the west, to the Watkins' front door, and they are rolling out the welcome mat.

"Everyone needs to get together and just do whatever we can together. One person cannot do it all," says Watkins.

Volunteers are still needed for Saturday's effort along with nails and wood to board up more homes. If you would like to get involved they are meeting in the six thousand block of Colfax.

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