(EMAILWIRE.COM, February 24, 2013 ) San Francisco, CA -- On average, Bill Heaney received two calls per day regarding a lack of basic plumbing function in foreclosed and vacant Detroit houses due to thieves who strip pipes, water heaters, and toilets.
All the pipes will be gone, said Heaney, 70, who has run Heaney Plumbing & Heating in Detroit for more than four decades. Its really gotten bad, probably the last four years, and weve been getting a lot of calls. The furnaces, the water heaters and all the pipes, even the sinks gone.
During what was the worst recession since the 1930s, pilfering cut the number of U.S. Homes that possessed plumbing by 10.4% from 2008 to 2011, says the U.S. Census. That trend reversed the five-decade positive trend for the nation. The decay of the houses adds another basic obstacle to the recovery in Rust Belt cities that are already burdened with high crime and poverty rates.
Detroit is the leader when it comes to lacking plumbing function at a basic level. The Census Bureau states that Flint, Michigan, Cleveland and Dayton Ohio, as well as Camden, New Jersey are also experiencing devolution.
Its a vicious circle, said John George, who has run the nonprofit Motor City Blight Busters in Detroit for a quarter century, trying to rehabilitate crumbling neighborhoods. Blight is like a cancer. If you dont nip it in the bud, it spreads. Before you know it, you look up, the whole street is gone. Its a major problem.
The vacancy expansion is another problem plaguing cities in the area. Detroit beaked at 1.85 million residents in 1950. The city has lost nearly a quarter of residents since 2000. Its total population fell 714,000 people in the 2010 census. Another afflicted are is Wayne County, which placed 21,350 tax-delinquent properties up for sale, which was a new record for the area. The county also sold 12,333. There are another 22,000 that teeter on the brink of the same possible outcome.
In an economy that sees an intact three-bedroom house within Detroit selling for $10,000, those homes that have stripped parts are nearly valueless, according to George.
Youve done almost irreversible damage, said George. You can fix anything, but the reality is, when is enough enough?