The rising cost of rent and increasing cost to buy a home are alarming. The shortage of tens of thousands of quality affordable housing units for families that desperately need them is appalling; and the countless substandard occupied rentals that plague our most vulnerable should embarrass us all in a civilized society. But my focus today is on the approximately 17,000 vacant, abandoned and deteriorated single-family houses in neighborhoods across Shelby County. Suffocating us are people-less houses with no path to occupancy whose owners have disappeared and ignored every effort by people of good will to find resolutions.