Southwest Memphis residents frustrated with abandoned homes

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Residents in the Mitchell area of Southwest Memphis say they are fed up with the double dose of an eyesore that's sitting on their block.

Neighbors reached out to us desperate to get something done about the abandoned homes that are drawing the wrong type of attention to their neighborhood.

"The two things are a total eyesore. Someone needs to be held accountable," a resident said.

Ben Cathy III says he won't stand for the sight.

"It just doesn't make it any sense," he said.

The abandoned homes are directly across from each other.

He says he called 911 when the home in the 500 block of Jenson caught on fire because teenagers were squatting there.

"When the firemen came in, they tore all of this out," Cathy III said. "It has been open for a while, and I don't know who owns it at this point."

WREG found that Delester Williams owns the abandoned, and now burned, home.

We also found that the city is currently suing him to get him to come in and fix the property.

Cathy III says he's always trying to keep children away from the home.

"I told them. I said, 'Look kids, don't y'all play on top of that house, because if you fall and hit your head it's gonna kill you." he said. "They climb up there, and walk across because they are pretty light. But it caught a fire pretty good."

As of right now, the neighborhood children aren't listening, and he wants the home demolished to avoid unthinkable.

"They say yes sir, but as soon as I go in the house they go right back to do it," Cathy III said.

Across the street though, it's not drawing crowds. It's overgrown and un-kept.

"I've been seeing small rabbits and mice and stuff. There's no telling what's coming from there," he said.

Another neighbor, who didn't want to show her face, just wants someone to tame the jungle next door.

"I talked to someone last week, and she told me someone would be over he this week. Nobody has come yet," she said.

She says she's been calling 311 since March, and even they don't have many answers for her.

The resident says it's in limbo, and they don't know who the house belongs to.

WREG did a search for the owner of the home too, but even our search turned up nothing.

This neighbor says, in the meantime she hopes the city will show up soon to at least mow the eyesore next door.

For all overgrowth violations, each property owner will receive a certified Notice of Violation allowing them seven days to correct.

The Notice of Violation is sent one time and covers the entire calendar year.

Only after non-compliance by the owner, vendors are dispatched to the location to cut the grass and overgrowth.

Invoices are mailed to the property owners for services rendered by the city for reimbursements.

If reimbursements are not paid to the city, liens are placed on the properties.