Neighbors crowdfund blight removal to boost neighborhood revitalization

The problem began years ago when a storm blew a few shingles off the roof of a house near the University of Memphis in Memphis, Tennessee.

The working-class homeowners kept intending to fix it, but medical bills and tax bills and life after the Great Recession kept getting in the way.

Eventually, the minor maintenance deferred turned into major water and structural damage that couldn’t be denied.

A struggling property in the lovely East Buntyn neighborhood became a blighted one, depressing property values all around.

UDistrict neighborhood leaders know how blight can spread like kudzu, so they aren’t waiting for others to solve the problem.

That’s why they started Safe & Sound, a crowd-funded critical home repair program for low-income owner-occupants.

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