Many neighborhoods in Lufkin have at least one run-down abandoned house unfit to live in. A lot of those vacant homes are now being used to sell drugs, commit crime and other illegal activity. But most dilapidated buildings were once well-maintained family residences.
Dale Allred, Certified Building Officer, said, "You may have an elderly person that last lived in it and they moved out of the home - into a nursing home or with family members - and they're just not able to live there. If they can't take care of themselves, they certainly can't take care of the property."
Doris Gregory's lived in the Cedar Grove community for more than 30 years. Her home is just a few feet away from a set of vacant apartments. She'd like to see them renovated and filled with responsible tenants.
"Sometimes it's a little scary because you have all kinds of people coming in from different parts of the city [to participate in illegal activity near the complex]," Gregory said. "You get ready to put lights all around your place."
City inspectors tag all unsafe buildings in Lufkin with a notice warning residents to stay out of the structure. They'll then track down the legal owner so they can remove or repair the property.
"If they get the permit to remove it, of course the cost of the demolition is going to be on them," said Allred. "If they don't take action and the taxpayers have to foot the bill, the City of Lufkin will remove it and then we'll put a lien on the property to recover those expenses."
Next week, city inspectors will perform what's called a saturation inspection. They will visit Texas neighborhoods in search of abandoned cars, weeded lots and abandoned structures - problems often found in older neighborhoods.