Plan to save houses that have become havens for drug use, fires | Videos, gallery

Fed up with seeing abandoned houses in Glenroi become havens for crime and drugs, the local community group is keen to see them repaired and re-used.

Glenroi Community Group members and Orange City councillors took the member for Orange Phil Donato on a tour of eight houses and the Kurim shopping centre on Wednesday.

The properties, a mix of public and private housing, are all derelict.

Many are boarded up, have broken windows and some are overgrown.

Community Group president Melissa Hatton said there had been fires in some of them since they were abandoned while some were littered with drug injection needles.

She is hoping to raise grants and funds to buy one of the public houses, fix it up, rent it out and then return the profits into buying another house and continuing the process as a local community effort.

“I’d like to see a target grant of $50,000-$100,000 to get it started off,” she said.

“What we’re hoping to do is to start out, make money and then provide social housing at a local level.”

She said she wanted to form a local committee to address the problems.

Mr Donato called for collaboration between the community, Orange City Council and the State Government to find a solution and stop the houses becoming havens for crime.

He said he had spoken to community figures about establishing a local forum.

“It is not good having houses like this which are havens for crime drug dealing people taking drugs, supplying drugs, people don’t want to live next door to that sort of thing,” he said.

And he called on parents to be more responsible for their children in the area.

“A lot of the issues come down to parent supervision or the lack of it.

“And that’s something parents need to take personal responsibility for, to make sure there kids aern’t roaming the streets late at night getting up to mischief,” he said.

Mr Donato also praised the work of the local group.

“The Glenroi community group is doing a great job in trying to bring the community together,” he said.

Cr Neil Jones said it needed a combined effort from the community and all levels of government to address the problem.

He said the council could not do it alone.

“They might be able to acquire one house but the problem is too widespread.

“We’re talking about something that is systemic. Vandalism breeds further vandalism.”

Cr Jones said the house owners needed to be held to account after seemingly abandoning the properties.

“The onus should be on the people who own the properties.

“If they are not coming up to the mark they should be shamed into action.”

Cr Jason Hamling said he grew up in the area.

“I am proud to have lived here,” he said.

“When I was here it wasn’t like this. But there are good people here.”

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