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$2.8 Million OKd to Secure ‘Ghost Towns’

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Tuesday that it has approved $2.8 million to clean up and secure 12 clusters of vacant, crime-plagued apartments and condominiums known as “ghost towns” in the San Fernando Valley, Hollywood and Mid-City areas.

The funding, which was promised in June by FEMA Director James Lee Witt, would pay to clear away debris, board up openings, erect fences and hire private security guards at about 150 vacant, quake-damaged buildings.

Under the direction of a city task force on ghost towns, crews have already boarded up and fenced nearly 100 buildings, and private security guards have been hired to patrol the areas since July 5.

“This is important money to button down those buildings until we can complete the rehab,” said Gary Squier, general manager of the city’s housing department.

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