When law enforcement reporter Robert Napper stopped by a recent sheriff's luncheon, he was just making the rounds. But he couldn't shake one discussion. A Manatee homeowner, Harry Traylor, was pleading for help from law enforcement and county officials. He didn't feel safe in his Northwest Bradenton home anymore, because of the abandoned home in foreclosure nearby.
The house is trashed, inside and out. Drug paraphernalia, beer cans and scattered bedding are evidence that intruders and homeless come through here.
Sheriff Brad Steube was bluntly honest in his assessment to Napper: "Basically we can come in and tell them they need to get out of there, and most often they do. But really, we are just calling their bluff.”
Foreclosures have thrown a suffocating noose around Manatee County, and it's going to take a rally like none we have ever seen to find a cure. As Napper reports in
today's 1A takeout, there are no borders for the crisis.
“They are everywhere,” Manatee County Housing Director John Barnott said. “It is a problem in the best neighborhoods, and the worst. I have people walking away from million-dollar homes because they have lost everything.”
This community is up for the challenge, as long as we're compassionate and united. Please, send your ideas on how to help.
Herald videographer Paul Videla's look through video: