West Philadelphia encampment created to protest demolition of low-income housing development at University City Townhomes

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — Protesters have gathered in West Philadelphia to voice their concerns over the imminent sale and demolition of University City’s row houses.

A group of tenants and housing activists set up more than a dozen tents in the yard. They say the demonstration is a visual representation of what could happen if residents were evicted.

“I’m 60, who wants to look for an apartment at this age? “We’re just trying to live our lives. We’re just trying to raise our kids and stay healthy. Eviction takes all of that away.”

The 70-unit complex has been providing low-income housing for families in West Philadelphia for 40 years.

Management group Altman Management Company has not only announced plans to sell the property, but it will also be ending its affordable housing contract. There are plans to demolish townhouses and convert them into a larger and more expensive development.

Many fear that not only will it gentrify the area, but it will also force nearly 70 families onto the streets.

“We don’t know where to go. There are no apartments in Philadelphia. A lot of people don’t have homes across the country,” Foreman said. “Our camp that we are doing here is the next step towards homelessness. That represents it. We want to fight so we don’t have to move there.”

According to Zumper, the typical two-bedroom apartment in Philadelphia will set you back $1,730.

While the amount of affordable housing in Philadelphia has fluctuated, the number has continued to decline over the years.

They’re also dealing with aging and decaying buildings, according to the Philadelphia Housing Authority. More than 55% of the buildings are 60 years old.

The backlog of necessary repairs is more than $1 billion.

“People are losing their homes, rents are going up, they’re being evicted. Places like Penn, you see a lot of development, but that development mostly benefits people who can afford the rising rents,” Center City’s Nick Pilotti.

Residents of the University City complex hope to prevent demolition.

The group has drawn up a list of demands. You cannot read the list here: Our Demands – Save the Townhomes!

The tenants were fired, but some tell Action News they never received the necessary housing vouchers to help with the move.

Townhomes Management submitted an extension to HUD to give residents more time. The extension lasts until September.

Action News is still awaiting a response from the Altman management team.

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https://6abc.com/west-philadelphia-university-city-townhomes-protest-affordable-housing/12043869/ West Philadelphia encampment created to protest demolition of low-income housing development at University City Townhomes

Alley Einstein

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