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Day care business impacted by West Side vacant homes

"If you really don't know DeBerry's Christian Day Care's staff and owner, you probably wouldn't come here," Sherry Williams, owner of the day care, said.

She's worked with children for the last 25 years, and in that time, the neighborhood where she works, has changed.

"The complaint is bad, ragly houses unattended, and nobody cares," Williams said.

On her block of N. Brookfield Street, there are more unkept vacant houses than people. Something, she said, has to change.

"We need to step up and take care of what needs to be taken care of here in South Bend," Williams said. "And everything should go back to the way it was."

She wants the grass cut and homes serviced. The house across the street from her day care caught fire almost two months ago, and there is still trash in the front yard.

"We ill board a house up, the doors, the windows, and twenty four hours later, it'll be kicked in," Brian Haygood, Chief Inspector for South Bend Code Enforcement said.

He says the area near Brookfield is one of the worst places for vacant homes. He wants it cleaned up too, but challenges stand in the way.

"We can certainly make sure we send out citations and encourage property owners to take and repair the things, but the city doesn't have the ability or really the authority to go out and fix these properties and resell them," Williams said. "They're not our property. We don't own them."

So for people like Williams, all she can do is wait; just like she always has.


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