Phila. apt. residents forced to leave homes

OGONTZ - August 26, 2010

Fury and frustration could be seen coming from the people moving out of the Granada Apartments in Ogontz, under the watchful eye of Licenses and Inspections.

The Salvation Army arrived to offer water and snacks, as residents carried their things in trash bags and boxes out to vehicles at the curb.

Now, there's not too much I can say. L&I came out and did their thing, that's it," resident Andrew Matthews said.

Deplorable conditions, including, some residents said, raccoons and possum living in the lobby, caused the city to originally tell residents they were shutting the Grenada in September. But the destruction of the fire response system by vandals on Monday prompted this week's drastic action.

The landlord, David Pollack, has been unresponsive.

Some people quickly found new homes, while some turned to loved ones, but others, like Nova Marsh who is putting her things in storage, said they had nowhere to go.

"My son asked me, 'Mommy, we're packing, where are we going?' I said, 'I don't know.' It's sad," Marsh said.

A city spokeswoman said the Office of Supplemental Housing was on the scene to help residents secure new homes.

Residents said they were told that if they have their paperwork, a receiver who has now taken ownership of the building, would give them back some of their money next week.

"You will get your first and last month back if you can prove you paid it and prove you're an active resident," resident Kim Nesmith said.

Cameras were not allowed in the building, but from what Action News was able to view, from the trash on the floor to the smell in the hallway, it's understandable that while people didn't want to move so quickly, many of them are not unhappy about having to leave.

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