Team Responds to Neighborhood Concerns
The police department is the first set of eyes to see if homes violate building codes. Officers report them to city planners, who inspect.
"The different departments, particularly the police department, determined where the major need was," said Bill Cantin of the city planning office, "based on crime statistics, based on windshield surveys, driving through the neighborhood, looking at the condition of the buildings."
After inspections, the city notifies owners to tell them if they need to repair the homes. If they can't afford them, help's available.
The Neighborhood Response Team works with the Columbia Police Department, health department, protection inspection and city planning, along with neighborhood associations, to find out which buildings need inspections.
The Columbia-Boone County Health Department's role is to recommend removal of debris between sidewalks and houses.
"And we go around and survey target neighborhoods," explained the health department's Bill Worley, "and we identify any kind of potential nuisance that we would normally enforce as a violation of our ordinances, send a notice and follow up on it."
For example, inspectors look for peeling paint, bad roofs and foundation problems. The time residents have to fix violations depends on how bad they are.
The response team began inspecting homes in central Columbia in 1999.