by: Carl Willis Updated:
ATLANTA - Elizabeth Whitmore graduated from Clark Atlanta University and that time made her familiar with the Ashview Heights neighborhood just a few blocks from the campus.
She even bought into the community by purchasing a home there in 2013. She said is not seeing a return on that investment.
"Over here we have prostitutes running the neighborhood," Whitmore said. "From stealing out of cars to openly doing drugs."
The neighborhood is located in side streets off of busy Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard in southwest Atlanta.
Channel 2 Action News drove down Camilla Street and counted 10 abandoned homes and another seven just one street over on Ashby Grove.
Whitmore told Channel 2's Carl Willis the homes attract prostitutes, drug dealers and squatters. She said an empty home burned down from the inside on Friday.
"How are people who don't own anything standing in front of homes," she said. "How are they sleeping in homes that are vacant?"
Neighbors said they believe the problem is in part due to absentee property owners and to what they call a lack of action by the city.
A daycare is located on the same street and children from nearby middle school and elementary school pass by the homes and activity each day.
"I've reached out to the mayor's office," said Whitmore. "I've reached out to my councilwoman and nothing's being done. I've been told I live on the wrong street."
Channel 2 Action News reached out to Councilwoman Cleta Winslow Monday night but did not get a response by news time.
However, through emails, she told homeowners she would forward their concerns to the commander of the Atlanta Police Department’s Narcotics and Vice Unit. Homeowners hope something is done to make the neighborhood a safe place to call home.
"I think revitalization is more than just owning a home, it's also about what the city can do to make sure that we feel safe," said Whitmore.