Philadelphia (WPVI) — Encampments outside University City’s affordable housing complexes no longer exist.
Law enforcement moved in Monday morning to clear it up. Protesters say the tents represent how they will live if the building is sold to developers.
Tensions mounted in University City as protesters blocked the intersection around 40th and Market Streets.
A group of residents and housing activists pitched over a dozen tents in the courtyard of the University City Townhome.
“This is a statement of our defiance against the owners who are trying to remove us from these homes,” said resident Melvin Hairston.
The tent remained outside until about 9:00 a.m., despite a court order to vacate it. At that time, the sheriff’s office moved to remove the tent.
Management group Altman Management Company has announced plans to sell the property.
They also end affordable housing contracts. Residents must vacate by September 7th.
Resident David S.
The plan is to demolish the townhomes and turn them into larger, more expensive developments. Residents were given housing vouchers to find new homes.
Rasheda Alexander says he has lived here for 14 years and has not been able to find a new place to live
“It was a step back when I called the apartment complex every day to ask about housing and was told no or refused because I had a voucher,” said resident Rasheda Alexander. I was.
70-unit complex has provided low-income housing to University City families for 40 years
At 9:00 a.m. Monday, the Sheriff’s Office ordered a Republican Court judge to instruct the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office to safely and orderly remove tents, fences, posters, and signs from the encampment on the private property of University City Townhomes. He said he had ordered him to supervise him to do so. .
The sheriff’s office sent the following statement to Action News:
“The shortage of affordable housing is a key issue that legislatures and executives need to address, and we may be able to offer alternative solutions to this growing problem.As many know, Sheriff Bilal remains sympathetic to this displacement issue and will continue to support the needs of Philadelphia’s underserved population. Sheriffs are adamant about keeping people at home.The criticism of the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office and the enforcement of court-ordered eviction orders against Sheriff Rochelle Bilal is misguided and misdirected. ”
The statement further said there was one incident to report: someone was given a summary summons for disorderly conduct on suspicion of assaulting a sheriff’s deputy, and the person was sent home.
Additionally, no one has been removed from the property.
The city sent a statement to Action News that the developer asked the court for this order.
The city said it is being sold by a private owner to another private developer.
City continues: “With respect to the encampment, the city is bound by and abides by the terms of the court order. Pursuant to the court order, the sheriff’s office is responsible for clearing the space. and city councilor Gauthier, who maintains affordable housing at this location. and the right to develop. We remain committed to finding and supporting solutions that embrace both goals.
All current tenants have been provided with housing vouchers from the PHA, the city said.
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