Phila. apt. residents forced to leave homes

NORTH PHILADELPHIA - August 26, 2010

Kiesha Mitchell is one of dozens packing for a trip to nowhere.

"We have no place to go. We're practically out on the street," Kiesha said.

Kiesha, by the way, is pregnant.

With mere hours to go before License and Inspections says they must leave, 9 a.m. Thursday, the residents of Granada Apartments are frantic, and they are furious.

They are forced to pack up possessions that took years to accumulate with no idea where they'll end up.

"We are all stuck. We don't know where we're going. Some people haven't packed yet because some people don't have money for U-Hauls," displaced resident Mia Bass said.

The order to vacate comes just two days after officials from L and I first visited. They responded to a fire department complaint that the building's central fire system was broken. It turned out, that wasn't the only problem.

Inside the building, they found countless code violations and deemed conditions unfit for human occupation. There were broken windows, holes in the walls and ceilings, trash uncollected, and bugs everywhere.

All of it, residents say, was ignored for months by their landlord, who they identify as David Pollack.

Neither tenants nor authorities have been able to contact him.

"Shameful, you know. I work every day. Try to abide by the law. Pay my rent. Thought I was doing the right thing," resident Isaiah Cross said to Action News.

Isaiah is one of the lucky ones as he is moving in with family nearby.

Most others are just packing and praying.

"It's a lot to think about and it's stressful," Mia said.

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