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South Bend community wants to do their own surveys of blighted neighborhoods

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Lead paint, caved in roofs, and dilapidated homes.  Those are just some of the problems that many neighborhoods in South Bend are facing.

ABC57 News has been closely following the "100 Homes and 500 families" plan for a couple of months.

On Friday, South Bend City Councilwoman Regina Williams-Preston presented one more update to her plan, to include the community in fixing up the city. 

"I had begun to realize that the house had started to fall apartment," says Margie Davis.

Davis has lived in her little cottage off of Olive Street for about 30 years. 

Her home has now turned hazardous with a roof that continues to sink.

"If that roof falls in, then what do I do?" she asks.

Like many other people living in the city. Davis can't afford the necessary repairs.

"I started looking for ways to get the roof repaired and I had no idea how expensive that was," she says. "The cheapest quote I was given was $13,000."

She is drawing hope from Preston's plan to rehab and rebuilt South Bend's neighborhoods. 

The city already plans to do a study to figure out what exactly the community needs. 

As of now, officials plan to spend $70,000 for a consulting firm in New Jersey to conduct the necessary survey.

But Preston says, the city should invest that money locally, and have the already existing neighborhood organizations and associations do the surveys. 

"We have to know what exactly the needs are in the community," she explains/ "So we know not just what we need for construction, but also for home repair."

That's where the community survey would come in.

"We don't have a clear picture of what the need is, until we actually go out there and map, house by house, what's happening," adds Preston. 

She's hoping it will get the community excited about change, and feel more involved with the movement to build up the neighborhoods. 

By doing so, she and others believe it will keep people secure in both home and mind.

"To have a little assistance would be really helpful at this point," says Davis. "I go to bed thinking what am I going to do now? How am I going to get out of this?

Preston hopes to get surveying started in summer of 2018.

On August 2 at 6 p.m. there will be an open forum for the community to share their struggles with their homes. 

A location has not yet been decided on. 

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