Residents frustrated months after Food For Less destroyed

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DAYTON, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - Crumbled bricks, charred metal and ash, sit in a pile on the side of E 3rd St.

"It looks exactly the same as the day they put it out," said resident Josh Matthews.

He lives right across from the Food For Less that burned down in November. If you ask him what's been done over the past few months, "a whole lot of nothing," he told Fox 45's Shavon Anderson.

Matthews thinks it's frustrating, seeing no urgency on the clean up.

"I came here every day for 15 years," he said. "My kids grew up with the people that work here."

In November, Fox 45 talked with owner Lutfi Hussein, who said he was planning to rebuild.

Today, a sign on the fence surrounding the property points to a company called Fire and Explosion Consultants. A representative told Fox 45 that they were hired by the insurance company. The rep also said their work on the site is done. They believe Hussein is waiting for the building to be officially condemned.

But, the entire situation is about more than the store, according to Matthews.

"This neighborhood, absolutely nothing has been done," he said. "Across the street from me, every house but one is boarded up on that block."

Matthews points to the city for what he calls the decline of the east side.

"This zip code led the nation in opiod deaths," he said. "We were the hardest hit. I've lost people to it. I've seen people drop. I didn't see a lot of outreach here, other than people getting Narcan. You don't see a lot of solution."

For more than a decade, Matthews has seen continued cuts to public housing, and families are forced out into the streets. He told Fox 45 that area rec centers have closed, and few new businesses come in. He believes if the city doesn't figure out a long-term plan, the community will keep deteriorating and families will have nowhere to turn.

"We're just as valuable to the city as anybody else."

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