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(en) US, defenestrator #29 April 2004 - Homeless in Philadelphia By Calimero

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 13 May 2004 10:11:53 +0200 (CEST)


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Ms. Veronica was four years old when she moved into her
home on the 1800 block of 8th Street in North Philly, in 1949.
Last summer she received a letter from the city stating that her
house would be taken away through an Eminent Domain order.
Like her, many other families throughout the city received these
letters, sometimes by mistake. The city offered her $12,000 as
compensation for taking her house, she refused the offer. Her
house is to be demolished as part of the Neighborhood
Transformation Initiative (NTI) started by Mayor Street, which is
supposed to revitalize communities through the removal of
blight.

s. Veronica was four years old when she moved into her home on
the 1800 block of 8th Street in North Philly, in 1949. Last
summer she received a letter from the city stating that her house
would be taken away through an Eminent Domain order. Like
her, many other families throughout the city received these
letters, sometimes by mistake. The city offered her $12,000 as
compensation for taking her house, she refused the offer. Her
house is to be demolished as part of the Neighborhood
Transformation Initiative (NTI) started by Mayor Street, which is
supposed to revitalize communities through the removal of blight.

As part of NTI the city will be spending $132 million over the
next five years to demolish 9,000 houses, many of which are still
occupied. That’s why Ms. Veronica joined CLI, the
Community Leadership Institute, lead by life-long activist
Rosemary Cubas and others who are fighting to save their homes
and stop Eminent Domain abuses. Unfortunately, Eminent
Domain is not the only flaw in the housing policies of the current
administration: another example is the tiny amount of money
(less than 6% of the City’s Office of Housing Budget)
dedicated to the creation of permanent affordable rental housing
for households living on less than $20,000 a year. To say it in
other words, for people that live in “poverty.” The
crisis is widespread. One in every five families are paying more
than a third of their income in rent.

This lack of affordable housing forces many families to double
and triple up in overcrowded housing or to live in homes with
substantial plumbing, heating, electrical and structural problems
in order not to end up homeless. A tenth of the city’s
households live with these physical problems and almost a third
of the total of all Philadelphia households live in homes with open
housing code violations.

The “City of Brotherly Love” also has a bad record
distributing the Section 8 vouchers (rent subsidies given out to
poor families) that the city is granted by the federal government.
Federal auditors concluded in a review released last September
that the Philadelphia Housing Authority failed to provide rent
subsidies to 3,200 families because its operations were inefficient
and the agency had to return $48 million dollars back to the
Federal Government after failing to use the funds. This money
could have kept many families from becoming homeless. While
the city’s shelter system “serves” 15,000
homeless persons each year, the demand is increasing. Unless
this administration commits to ending the housing crisis, we will
be seeing a lot more homelessness.

GET INVOLVED! Not everyone is waiting for the city to solve
their problems. People are organizing! Following is a list of
organizations that are organizing around various housing issues:

Community Leadership Institute (215) 634-8450 Kensington
Welfare Rights Union (215) 203- 1945 Disabled in Action (215)
627-7255 Tenant Action Group (215) 575-0700 x 266
Women’s Community Revitalization Project (215) 5550p
x228 New Jerusalem (215) 763-8806
======================================================
defenestrator the a newspaper of refusal and optimism issue 29 April 2004

Us here at defenestrator don't adhere to a strictly defined
ideology, but we generally derive our ideas from an anarchist
or autonomist tradition, which proposes a revolutionary
transformation of society, the abolition of property and of
all hierarchies and coercive power. To replace it we want a
network of federated autonomous communities, organizations
and individuals who act on principles of solidarity and mutual
aid. The current anti-corporate globalization movement may
reflect some of these ideas in their horizontal forms of
organizing, but less is said about the origins of our ideas.
The following is a very limited list of links, articles and
books which have influenced us or explain where we're coming
from.

The defenestrator is Philly's sporadic newspa-
per for resistance, creative revolution and
action. To defenestrate Power means total
refusal of its tools and tentacles. Like the
Hussites had their oppressors thrown down
from the Prague castle into the angry mob
below, the defenestrator wrestles power and
privilege from its highest and most protected
strongholds and casts the beast out of the win-
dow and down into the angry hands of the
people.

defenestrator's alternative press page

defenestrator articles http://www.defenestrator.org/articles.htm


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