Website lets callers give feedback about problem properties
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- South Bend's new CityVoice mobile app and website are up and running - and people are taking full advantage of the chance to voice their concerns about vacant and abandoned properties. There are hundreds of voicemails already.
Overgrown grass is no longer the only sign of a vacant or abandoned property.
Now there's an actual sign. It's part of a new call-in system called CityVoice.
"That call-in system is connected to a website which stores all the messages and input," said Reed Duecy-Gibbs, of Code for America.
The city places a sign in the front yard and neighbors can call the number to give feedback.
"This property has been abandoned for a couple of years now and it just houses all kind of animals and rodents and everything like that," said one caller whose message is archived on the site.
"We went out into various neighborhoods in the community and put up about 250 yard signs," said Duecy-Gibbs.
Every one of those 250 yard signs gives a specific calling code linked to that property.
But you can call on a house--even if there isn't a sign out front.
The site has been up for just 24 hours and there's already 120 messages posted.
"There's a property on Scott Street that don't have a sign that's worse than all the properties I've seen signs on," said one caller.
"This is a party house and no one has lived in it for over 3 years and I would be afraid that anyone who tried to repair it would end up hurting themselves," said another caller.
All calls are anonymous and the feedback will help the city separate the homes worth saving from the homes needing a bulldozer.
"It also depends on how the neighbors feel about it. So it's been really good to see the variety of opinions and that's exactly what we want to see," said Duecy-Gibbs.
Click here to visit the website