Blight brings down neighborhoods. Blight invites crime, and poses many health and safety risks. Neighborhoods across the city, but particularly in south and central Fresno, are sinking under the shadow of vacant and abandoned properties.
Our organization, Faith in Community, is a partner in the fight to put an end to blight, and we are joined by many others, including Tenants Together and Fresno Building Healthy Communities. We want provisions that make sure “newly unblighted” vacant rentals are inspected to ensure they are safe for families to move in, gives groups the right to take a property owner to court, requires a monthly public report that spells out what properties are in violation and the amount of fines collected and that forces the city to start a vacant property registry, which would require the property owner start paying a monitoring fee to the city after 60 days of vacancy.
This ordinance is very fair. Other cities across California have similar laws. For too long, slumlords have had their way in this city. It’s time for Fresno to hold them accountable and it’s time for Mayor Swearengin to follow through on her promise to address Fresno’s slum housing problem.