ORLEANS COUNTY, N.Y. — "One 'tearer-downer' could impact assess evaluations in the neighborhood by $7,500 a house," said Dave Callard.
Callard, the Chairman of the Orleans County Legislature, is taking a hands-on approach to fixing the housing problem affecting most of the country.
"If homes go into foreclosure and then the banks take the title, we don't even know who has ownership of the homes," said Callard.
He said this process ends with homes sitting for way too long and deteriorating to the point that they must be torn down.
This is Callard's third time renovating a home. Located on Temperance Street in Albion, the home, which was built in the 1840s, is what Callard called a "tearer-downer." He's been working tirelessly for more than a year to change it into something neighbors can be proud to live by.
"There were like, three different materials on the outside of the house. It was a hoarder's delight. I actually took truck loads of items out of the house," said Callard.
Callard says he does not have pictures of what the home used to look like, but neighbors say it needed a lot of renovations.
"A dump. That's as close as I can come. It was almost ready to fall down. Rodents were going in and out. I can feel free to sit on my porch now. I would never do that before," said neighbor Sharon Nenni.
Callard says fixing up these homes is only a temporary solution to a much bigger problem. He says something needs to be done.
"Legislation is being proposed in Albany to at least identify the owner so that communities can be in contact with them," said Callard.
For now, he says:
"One individual can turn around one house. If we can have other people do so on every street, it will have a very positive reaction in the community," said Callard.
Callard hopes to be finished with this home by the end of the year.
"He's really showed me you can take anything and fix it up," said Nenni.