The time has come for our elected officials to address this impending health crisis in Prince William County. Not only are the sheer number of foreclosures a fiscal crisis, but there is a rising health concern as well. Now we must all band together and start creating some innovative solutions to deal with the foreclosure crisis. This issue affects us all!
No county in the region has been hit harder by the foreclosure wave than Prince William, where there are nearly 7,000 empty houses, said neighborhood services coordinator Michelle Casciato. Given recent census estimates, that means about one in 20 houses in the county are unoccupied.
The county has had only a few cases of West Nile virus in recent years, he said, but it’s more of a concern this summer. “The risk is increasing with these vacant and unmaintained homes,” Meehan said.
And new residents aren’t filling up the empty houses fast enough. Although home sales in the county increased 14 percent from January through April compared with the same period last year, foreclosures in the county have gone up 211 percent in that time. There were 645 foreclosures last month in Prince William, Manassas and Manassas Park, court records show.
Frustration and impatience have turned some residents into lawn-care vigilantes, who attack the blighted yards with their own mowers and implements. Technically, it’s trespassing, but health and safety matters come first.