ERIE, Pa. - Erie's neighborhood watch groups are starting a new grassroots movement to combat blight.

The Neighborhood Resource Organization is asking the groups to help them identify vacant properties. They are also totaling the number of "nuisance properties," places that receive calls from the police or fire departments. From there, leaders will take the list to the city and demand they clean things up.

Some of the homes have been vacant for years, said NRO director John Villa.

Some along E. 13th St. he showed Erie News Now were have boarded-up windows and litter scattered in the yard. He wants the public to help out the group.

"The weather will hopefully get nice and people will go out and start their spring cleanups in April," Villa said. "While you're out picking up trash or driving through your neighborhood and you see a vacant house that you know has been vacant, write down the address and email it to us."

The initiative will last for the next few months, he added.

How to get involved
To report blighted, vacant or nuisance properties in the City of Erie, you can call the NRO at 814-572-0755 or email