Mayor Kenney, We The People Demand You Re-enter Negotiations
Mayor Kenney and The City of Philadelphia
The City of Philadelphia is well within their means to provide permanent housing to the economically disadvantaged & house-less population. The global pandemic has only exacerbated the impending Philadelphia housing crisis. The Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) are a conglomerate of federally funded "landlords", therefore they SERVE the people. How is it possible to both serve the people and also facilitate a city-wide housing crisis? The encampments are a reflection of a city government that has failed its people at the most basic level. Each demand of the encampments is not only attainable but affordable. The PHA is responsible for managing thousands of housing applications in the city, yet, hundreds of homes remain vacant until they have been proven to be auctioned off to developers. This is not a fair system PHA, to add, the PHA is based within a 45 million dollar building. In the wake of the pandemic the encampments within the city only began to grow. Philadelphia is on the cusp of the worst housing crisis in over a century. As you are aware, vacant properties are located all over the city. There have been three rounds of negotiations that have yielded little to no progress because the city will not break from profit-driven choices.
These are people who need housing and they have clear demands that the city is simply refusing to agree on.
As things stand, this Wednesday, September 9th, marks the posted eviction date set for the encampment located on the Benjamin Parkway. We cannot allow the city to push the housing crisis from view for the sake of white comfort. We are calling on Mayor Kenney and the city of Philadelphia to re-enter negotiations at this moment and to halt the removal of residents in the encampments. We will not back down.
The demands are listed below:
DISEMPOWER, DISARM, and DISBAND the PHILADELPHIA POLICE DEPARTMENT and all PRIVATE POLICE DEPARTMENTS
Transfer all vacant properties owned by PHA, RDA, and PHDC to a community land trust for permanent low-income housing operated by the workers’ revolutionary collective.
A moratorium on PHA, RDA, and PHDC acquiring or selling properties until all PHA waiting list applicants are housed.
Fire all police, city, and the city contracted workers who FAIL to treat us with RESPECT and DIGNITY.
Repeal all camping ordinances within the city limits, no contact without offering permanent housing
The city must sanction camp on the parkway and other encampments as valid permanent, legal, and as no police zones
Stop all service days, encampment resolutions, homeless sweeps, and all other activities that harass the unhoused.
Support tiny houses that are funded and self-governed by unhoused people.
Mayor Kenney and The City of Philadelphia
From: [Your Name]
Mayor Kenney and The City of Philadelphia,
The impending action scheduled for September 9th is not a reflection of the values, we the people of Philadelphia, hold to be important. Too many decisions have been made without the consideration of the people who vote you into office. We are in support of the Philadelphia Housing Action's demand for the immediate transfer of vacant city-owned properties into a community land trust. We demand that the City of Philadelphia immediately halt the encampment evictions set to happen on Wednesday, September 9, 2020, and re-enter negotiations with the encampment residents.
Pulled from the CDC:
"Lack of housing contributes to poor physical and mental health outcomes, and linkages to permanent housing for people experiencing homelessness should continue to be a priority. In the context of COVID-19 spread and transmission, the risks associated with sleeping outdoors or in an encampment setting are different from staying indoors in a congregate setting such as an emergency shelter or other congregate living facilities. Outdoor settings may allow people to increase physical distance between themselves and others. However, sleeping outdoors often does not provide protection from natural conditions, adequate access to hygiene and sanitation facilities, or connection to critical services and healthcare. The risks to the individual should be considered with immediacy when proposing any tangible solution."
The Philadelphia Housing Authorities are in favor of developers and are proving harmful to our communities, the ones who helped elect YOU. What does the city gain from having these people on the streets instead of in homes?
You have the power to immediately issue a moratorium on the impending eviction from the encampments, so do it.
The encampments themselves should not be disbanded until each person is settled in their preferred permanent housing solution. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that it would go against proposed guidelines to disband the encampments at this time. The city has chosen to disregard their recommendations. As stated earlier the CDC directed you away from making any moves unless there had been a solution proposed on an individual level. Disbanding the encampments is going to accelerate the transmission of a virus we as a country simply do not have control over. Forced displacement should be a crime. It is shameful for the city to commit such capitalistic attacks on communities that continue to not be considered. What does the city gain from having these people dispersed on the streets?
To address the question that we have now asked twice- what DOES the city gain from disbanding the encampments; increasing PROPERTY VALUE and REVENUE. PHA refuses to put these homes in a public land trust primarily because they know how imperative this will be for those who need it.
They would rather let these vacant properties accrue value and then sell them to the highest bidder. THE CITY IS WORKING WITH PHA TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN! The City of Philadelphia must stop being so blatant about their valuing of profit over people! We are sick of certain elected officials not being our voice in these conversations. It is a fact that members of the encampments are residents of the City of Philadelphia just as much as those living in encampments surrounding areas.
Housing is a human right. Not a commodity, nor a privilege. It is another fact that PHA has been a chief gatekeeper of public owned property, in favor of developers, FOR DECADES.
We the people are in solidarity with the residents of the Philadelphia encampments and with all other houseless folx in the city. This is a problem WE CAN fix. We will not accept a walk away from the table. Ending homelessness is attainable here in the city.
Now Mayor Kenny, you may be looking forward to a swift reelection campaign for 2021. However, Philadelphians need you now. This is a determining moment in your time as Mayor. The people have already shown we will defend the rights of the houseless, will you stand with us or will you continue to stand with a housing authority that has overextended its power; and is going to continue to make the city an unaffordable, unliveable, place.
Decide if you will Protect Philadelphians or those with big pockets?
We will not give in. Stop the sweep and come back to the negotiation table.
Who do you protect? Who do you serve? All eyes are on you, if you do not stand with the people, you have chosen your election results. We look forward to hearing your decision.