Taking action for a Detroit family forced to live with rats

Posted at 3:45 PM, Aug 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-24 15:45:05-04
A homeowner in Detroit said her home is being taken over by overgrown weeds from the property next door.
"This was not here when I got here. This was nothing but one little bitty tree. Now, look at it," said Gloria Anderson-Raspberry looking at the overgrown weeds taking over next door. 
Less than a year ago, the 65-year-old Detroit resident moved into a home situated next to an abandoned property, but never imagined that one day, she wouldn’t be able to see the ground in between.
"When I look out at my bathroom window, I still see nothing. I see nothing but trees and weeds," she said.  
But even more bothersome than the view of these unsightly weeds, she says, is what’s lurking amongst them.
"Rodents, rats, trash," she adds. 
Anderson-Raspberry said every time she tries to cut down some of the weeds, a rat appears. She said she's facing a problem with rats outside, and it's now creating an even bigger problem for her inside, in the form of field mice. 
"I have caught so many of them... I don’t know what to do," she said. 
It's creating an even bigger challenge for her sick brother, Kenneth, who has a pulmonary disease.  
He shows us the shovel he uses to pick up the dead mice when he finds them, but it’s the smell, he says, that’s truly bothersome.
"It’s very frustrating because I have COPD, asthma and it gets into my lungs."  
The abandoned home, we’ve learned, is owned by the Detroit Land Bank Authority. 
So why isn’t the property being taken care of?  
"Our resources are somewhat limited, so we have to be very judicious in terms of which properties we’re going to take care of," said Craig Fahle, a Land Bank representative. 
Land Bank has thousands of properties under its care and not enough money to maintain them all. But Land Bank sent an inspector out to the home to get an estimate on how much it would cost to remove the blight.
The authority says they’re still weighing the cost/benefit of moving forward with the blight removal.
So Channel 7 has reached out to Blight Busters instead, a nonprofit tackling blight in the city.
The good news is that they have accessed the property and agreed to send out a team of volunteers to take care of the problem early next week.
Anderson-Raspberry said she's relieved, mostly for her brother, who's suffering from breathing issues.