As part of the Mid-South Peace & Justice Center Issues First campaign, they will host a neighborhood and community action summit tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the First Congregational Church to talk about how the community can combat blight in a comprehensive manner.
Memphis has been hit hard by foreclosures, especially in traditional African-American neighborhoods.
"Not only will reducing blight improve the quality of life of thousands within our community but can also save tax payers millions of dollars," says Brad Watkins, organizing coordinator of the summit.
A Peace & Justice Center study has found that fires in vacant homes cost the city anywhere from $1.3 million to $6.8 million in fire suppression, investigation, and property maintenance and demolition.
Many are set by squatters.
About 1,300 vacant homes have been boarded up, at a cost of $600 per property. By contrast, a fire in that same property (that hasn't been boarded up) can cost the city $17,500.
They expect 2010 county mayoral candidates Joe Ford and Mark Luttrell to attend, as well as sheriff candidate Randy Wade, county commissioners Steve Mulroy and Henri Brooks, and other elected officials.