North Braddock has more than 300 vacant homes, many of which are beyond repair. About 100 of those are not secured, meaning they have doors or windows that are broken or missing.
On Saturday, about 40 volunteers plan to fan out in the neighborhood to clean and secure several of the properties.
“Boarding up not only makes it look a little better, but also it keeps out people with ill intents who are either going to remove things from the house such as pipe or any other metal that would be valuable and it keeps kids out from getting hurt,” said Terry Stell, a board member with North Braddock Cares, a community development organization.
Stell acknowledges that boarding up the properties may not be the ideal solution, but says it is the best one available now.
“Best case scenario is to have them demolished because a lot of them are beyond repair,” he said. “However, there are no funds available at any level of government: local, state, federal or county to do a mass project to demolish the structures.”
North Braddock Cares (NBC) is hosting the volunteers from Slippery Rock University and Penn State Greater Allegheny Campus. The North Braddock Volunteer Fire Department donated $200 to the Board Up project and the borough council kicked in $500. Wooden board donations came from several sources and there are funds remaining from a PNC grant previously awarded to NBC for the project.
In addition to boarding up the houses, volunteers will have weed whackers to cut overgrown weeds. With about 100 properties unsecured, Stell said the hope is to get to as many as possible. Crews will be working all day Saturday.