Waites working to make over District 60

State Rep. Keisha Waites (D-Atlanta)

State Rep. Keisha Waites (D-Atlanta)

State Rep. Keisha Waites (D-Atlanta) is about to take a page from the canceled television show, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” in an effort to revitalize abandoned properties in her legislative district.

Waites — whose district includes parts of Clayton, DeKalb and Fulton counties — announced Thursday that she is preparing to kick-off a new volunteer initiative, called “District 60 Extreme Makeover.” The effort, which she said will be funded with Home Depot Foundation grants, is designed to get volunteers to help clean up abandoned and distressed properties in their communities.

“Our communities suffer from streets full of abandoned, empty homes and unkempt yards,” said Waites, in a written statement. “Beautifying our community and creating an attractive landscape can deter and reduce crime, while bringing in new homeowners and businesses.”

The new state representative, who was just elected in February, is scheduled to launch her new initiative on Saturday, beginning at 9 a.m., with volunteers working to makeover homes in southeast Atlanta. Volunteers for the clean-up day are asked to meet at the Kipp Vision Academy, located at 660 McWilliams Rd., in Atlanta.

Foreclosure tracking web site, RealtyTrac.com, shows 1-in-every-331 housing units in Georgia received a foreclosure notice in February.

More locally — in the Forest Park and Conley areas that make up the Clayton County part of Waites’ district — the averages are slightly higher. In Forest Park, the web site shows, 1-in-every-271 housing units received a foreclosure notice last month. In Conley, 1-in-every-304 housing units received a foreclosure notice during that time period.

In total, there are 291 foreclosed homes in Forest Park, and 112 foreclosed homes in Conley, according to RealtyTrac.

Waites said volunteers will work to clean-up a new set of properties each month. She added residents can e-mail her, at keishawaites@house.ga.gov, to nominate properties in her district for clean-up, and revitalization. She said she and other volunteers will work to improve these properties by mowing lawns, planting flowers, and doing other home-improvement work on the buildings to revitalize them.

The workers will be “armed” with lawn mowers, mulch, plants, paint and “other supplies from Home Depot,” according to the state representative’s statement.

“This effort will be the first step in an ongoing push to revitalize our communities,” Waites said. “These are essential steps toward revitalizing neighborhoods.”