Philadelphia

Residents and supporters in the Save the People’s Townhomes Coalition came to the site of what had been homes for over 70 families when word got out March 19 that the demolition of the project had begun.

Former residents of townhomes complex gather at demolition site. Philadelphia, March 19, 2024. WW Photo: Joe Piette

Four former residents who had each lived there for three or four decades hugged each other and walked around as the demolition workers were told to take a break from knocking down the once-lively residential units. The pleasant sound and image of children playing in the yards and street has been replaced by tractor noise, dust and falling bricks. A statue of a dancing child that once stood in the main courtyard was missing, the only remaining sign of its existence being a metal child’s foot attached to the cement.

The two-year struggle to stop the eviction of the residents, which drew international attention, ended when the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel, Altman Management and city officials agreed on a settlement that they promise will eventually create some affordable housing on part of the property.

Skeptical activists are waiting to see if that ever happens and expect to reinvigorate the struggle for affordable housing when it becomes necessary.

Joe Piette

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Joe Piette
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