You don't have to tell Rafael Pinado that about one in three houses in Washington Park is vacant.
He can see a couple of them from the front yard of his Audubon Avenue home, and open lots where 14 homes once stood surround his family's property, he said.
"Right now here (property) is cheap," Pinado said. "But it is a hard way to live."
According to census data released this month, Washington Park has the highest percentage of vacant homes in the metro-east and the 15th highest vacancy rate in the state out of 1,367 census-designated places.
The village's vacancy rate of 30.2 percent is about double that of its similarly impoverished neighbors in East St. Louis and Centreville and four times the rate of nearby Fairmont City, where Pinado's fellow Hispanics now form the majority of the population.
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