CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – A new initiative has been created in an effort to clean up the City of Charleston and continue the fight against the opioid epidemic.
An abandoned home, rotting and an eyesore for the neighborhood, will be gone by nightfall.
“We target abandoned structures that are problems for cities,” says Andy Feeny.
Feeny is the AT&T State President for West Virginia. ‘Believe Appalachia’ is an initiative created by the company to clean up communities around the nation.
“At AT&T, we work here, we have customers here, but you know… we live here too. We care about this community,” says Fenny.
As many know, the opioid epidemic hit West Virginia hard. This program, and partnership with the city, is another step towards trying to win this ‘War on Drugs.’
“We are going to rebuild our communities and our neighborhoods. But it’s going to take more than just tearing a house down, it’s going to be about building a community up,” says Mayor Amy Goodwin.
“We can come out and help the city to tear down and remove these structures, and that is kind of the hallmark of what we’re doing here, but then we also tie in a community engagement piece,” says Feeny.
So that’s why ‘Believe Appalachia’ is picking up trash and donating money to the Charleston Fire Department, for new mattresses.
“When our firefighters are pulled out of bed, sometimes they get one maybe two hours of sleep, they need a good mattress,” says Mayor Goodwin.
“When they get some downtime for them to be able to come back and get some rest before the next call, that’s huge,” says Fire Chief Jeff Jackson.
And removing abandoned homes like this one may mean a little more downtime; because the fire department spends a lot of time putting out fires in abandoned buildings.
Chief Jackson said last year alone they had roughly 120 structure fire calls, and 70% of those were abandoned homes.