As Reported by Tommie Clark for WBALTV
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Volunteers led a community walk in west Baltimore that is part of a renewed effort to address the city's vacant and abandoned homes.
Wednesday marked the sixth neighborhood walk of its kind in west Baltimore, and the first in Edmondson Village.
Volunteers heard from the people who live near the abandoned homes in the hopes of coming together to do something about it.
On Wednesday, a couple dozen Baltimoreans gathered inside St. Bernardine's Catholic Church. Everyone wanted to see change in their community.
"We're at that part where we have to do something - at the tipping point," said west Baltimore resident Michelle Bass.
Bass grew up in Edmondson Village. She joined BUILD One Baltimore to address the issues that have developed in the community over the years.
"Back in the 60s when my family first moved up here, basically it was more home ownership, and you know that's how we build wealth, and that's what I want to work on. And when I say I, I mean we also," she said.
The group full of faith leaders hit the pavement and went door-to-door in hopes of finding out what people are experiencing, and how they can address problems like the thousands of vacant and abandoned homes along their streets.
"We have a significant amount of vacant housing in this neighborhood, which is Edmondson Village. Several years ago, we had a series of arsons -- people just torching the vacant houses and creating all kinds of problems, so we're going to go into the neighborhood and talk to the residents about their concerns," said Rev. Richard Bozelli, of St. Bernadine's Church.
Neighbors spoke up about the improvements they want to see.
"Our city is starting to be turned down about a lot of crimes and everything else going on in the city, so I thought this was very nice," said Edmonson Village resident Marcella King.
Other issues mentioned: Rats near their homes and trash filling their streets.
Volunteers hope Wednesday's talks will embolden everyone to try and make their community a better place.
"This is all an effort to give people hope and encourage them and inspire them to do well," Bozzelli said.
At the end of the walk, leaders collected all of the information. They will now form action groups to address the issues.