Roanoke's southeast residents press for action on Rescue Mission's vacant property

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) - There's an ongoing discussion about sprucing up abandoned homes in southeast. That includes some properties owned by the Rescue Mission. Some neighbors are becoming impatient with the lack of action.

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"That's the first thing they see coming into this neighborhood and it can set the tone for the rest of the area."

Joshua Ijames moved to southeast in June and says he's immersing himself into a great community. But he says its hard to ignore these boarded up homes and this vacant land just down the street.

"They're just sitting, and they're ugly, and they could be put to good use if someone, you know, took the time and the money to invest in them."

The four houses, church and vacant land make up about four acres of property owned by the Rescue Mission - 21 parcels they bought back in 2016.

At last week's Southeast Action Forum, Ijames says neighbors began questioning why nothing's been done.

"I think that it's time to make a move on these properties."

"It's the gateway into southeast and we want it to be something that is going to raise up our whole community and something we can all celebrate."

The CEO of the Rescue Missions say they're not housing people there because of their poor condition.

He understands the push for action but says they want a plan good for the long term.

"Just trust us that we're working very hard and we're looking forward to being able to talk about it in the very near future."

Clark anticipates community conversations about the plots sometime next year, but says you won't see anything happening here for at least another three to five years, during which time, Ijames will be paying close attention.

"The rescue mission does a lot of great things for the community, something just needs to happen with the properties."

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