Low-income Black and Brown housing activists in Philadelphia are fighting to stop the displacement of residents who live in an affordable housing complex in the largely gentrified neighborhood of University City. The complex, known as University City Townhomes, was built to provide affordable housing to low-income residents, many of whom are elderly and disabled, but the property owner has since announced plans to redevelop the property, which is near the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University. We speak with University City Townhomes residents Rasheda Alexander and Sheldon Davids, who have held months of encampments and protests alongside William Barber, president of Repairers of the Breach and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign. “It was always about greed and money and racism,” says Barber, who notes the move to redevelop the complex is part of a larger assault on poor people and housing services in the United States.
Over the years, I’ve seen what was invested into our community slowly stripped away from us. They took our children’s institutions away, learning institutions, a elementary school, a early childhood center and a high school. And then, years later, they are displacing the families here. But this community has been a close-knit community for over 40 years now, so everybody in the community are pretty close. We’re pretty much like family.
— source democracynow.org | Sep 27, 2022