New technology helps better secure vacant homes

Securing vacant homes for greater good
Secure View windows. (Source: WOIO)
Secure View windows. (Source: WOIO)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Many Cleveland neighborhoods are still trying to dig out of the foreclosure crisis. In 2007, Slavic Village had the highest foreclosure rate in the United States.

But new technology developed right here in town is protecting those homes, property values and the safety of neighbors.

Normally a vacant house in the Slavic Village would be boarded up with plywood. But Secure View, a polycarbonate shatterproof solution, has been installed in about 70 homes there. And it's changing the neighborhood.

The answer to securing vacant homes just got clearer. Community Blight Solutions has installed their new technology, Secure View in the Slavic Village neighborhood, an area that knows all too well the problems associated with boarded up homes.

"Whether there was something going on behind the boards, or they were pulling the boards and striping off all the material inside the house. It really attracted a nuisance condition," said City Councilman Tony Brancatelli.

"The house next door to a property boarded up by plywood immediately gets devalued by 20%," said Co-Founder of Community Blight Solutions, Robert Klein.

"It was an eye sore and what they've done to this beautiful home that's over a hundred years old…is miraculous," said long-time Slavic Village resident, Robert Hruby.

"The beauty of it is, you can't tell the property is vacant. You walk by on the street outside…you cannot tell it's vacant. You're not advertising to the world, I'm vacant, come vandalize me," said Klein.

Co-founder Robert Klein says they're tracking clear boarding's effectiveness...and it's working.

"We've used it in 2,300 communities around the country. I'd say about 15,000 of them. As of right now, not one of them has been broken into," said Klein.

Councilman Tony Brancatelli says it's increasing the likelihood of recapturing these foreclosed homes, and encouraging other home owners to reinvest.

"We're able to maintain property values in our neighborhood. We're able to maintain safety in our neighborhood and the neighbors are understanding that there is more attention being paid to it," he said.

"There's a lot of positive growth and it's very exciting, and I think it's just wonderful," said Hruby.

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