Nonprofit demolishes home, fights blight and helps veterans

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Several groups are  helping veterans and fighting blight at the same time in the Highland Heights neighborhood.

Tuesday morning, heavy equipment was working to bring new beginnings to a boarded and blighted home. The tear down was a symbolic start for the subdivision off Coleman Avenue.

After about an hour, a big pile of debris was built up next to the crumbling home. The goal of the project is to help those who have served our country.

"Being able to take down a blighted property, and being able to put a new property back on is something that I think a lot of neighborhoods want to see," Amy Schaftlein, executive director at United Housing, said.

United Housing, a non-profit, says a new home will sit in the spot, providing additional housing opportunities for Mid-South veterans.

She said this project is also a win for the neighborhood. "Too often you see that houses that are vacant and abandoned, they attract crime, they attract trash and they can become health hazards on the community."

A $500,000 grant from the Tennessee Housing Development Agency is funding the project. In June 2018, United Housing also broke ground on a home site in south Memphis. Construction there is currently going on.

"There will be two homes. Two bedroom, one bath homes built right back here," Schaftlein explained.

The demolition is part of a Blight Elimination program. The goal is to stabilize property values and prevent foreclosures in the state.

United Housing says they will work with their veterans services charity partners to find the right veteran for the spot.

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