“First thing we have to do is check for safety. Make sure there’s no structural bricks falling. Make sure the front porch isn’t caving in,” says Board Up Section crew member Trevon Finney.
When a complaint comes in to seal off a bad property, Myron Douglas and his team are called in. The department boards up at least 10-15 homes per day, but certain properties take priority depending on their hazardous condition.
“The main thing is to take care of the school kids to make sure nobody snatches them in and harms them. That’s my concern. “, says Lead Utility Worker Douglas.
“If you’re staying somewhere and right next door and across the street, you got homeless people and drug addicts going in and out, you don’t want your kids to go outside and play,” says Finney.
“I’m going to make sure the taxpayers get what they paid for,” says Douglas. “That’s why I’m hoping they see me in the neighborhood with the lights flashing, come out and ask me for a card. Have any problems? I got you.”
A South City neighborhood is thankful for the team after Douglas came and boarded up an abandoned home that was taken over by squatters.
“We put about four or five boards on the back and then two in the front,” he says.
The property was sealed off following a Virginia Avenue News 4 investigation.
“We don’t see them in the back anymore”, says homeowner Rayshaun Baskin. “To Mr. Myron Douglas, I would like to say thank you personally. I kind of had low expectations personally for how the city would respond.”
Despite these efforts, both say the city still has a problem on its hands when it comes to relocating the homeless population. Baskin tells News 4 he hopes it will be fixed with money from the Ram settlement and or Covid relief money.
Residents in need of a property board up should call the Citizens’ Service Bureau for city documentation to alert its board up crew. For more information call (314) 622-4800.
“Please do not give up. Please do not give up fighting. There are people who listen.”