PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Hundreds gathered in front of City Hall Wednesday evening, demanding UC Townhomes in West Philadelphia stay affordable and remain in the hands of current residents.
UC Townhomes is located near 40th and Market streets. It has 70 units and is a Section 8 subsidy housing development.
Owner IBID Associates said it would put the complex up for sale and the plan is to replace it with more expensive housing in the gentrifying neighborhood.
"How am I going to continue my path without a household or roof over my head, or a house to live in for us to be comfortable?" asked resident Krystal Young.
After a series of demonstrations this summer, Save the UC Townhomes coalition announced plans to purchase the complex themselves.
To make it a reality, they said the following needs to happen:
- Altman Management and IBID must sell the complex to a third party that would maintain UC Townhomes.
- The city needs to step in and contribute funds to preserve low-income housing.
- University of Pennsylvania, Drexel and Penn Medicine must commit funds to help purchase the complex and contribute to an affordable housing fund.
"The city, the state, the federal government, the universities, if everybody plays their part, oh yeah, it's possible," said UC Townhomes resident Melvin Hairston.
In response, a spokesperson for the city released this statement:
"This is a private owner attempting to sell to another private developer. The property owners have sued the City and Councilmember Gauthier over the legislation that maintains affordable housing at this location. Nonetheless, the City supports improved creation of and access to affordable housing and the property owners' right to sell and develop their property. We remain committed to assisting in finding and supporting a resolution that embraces both goals. All current tenants have been offered housing vouchers from PHA. It is our understanding that the residents are seeking new housing opportunities using these resources. For more information, please reach out to PHA directly.
Affordable Housing is and has always been a priority to the Kenney administration. Despite limited federal, state and local funding, the City's Department of Planning and Development (DPD) and the City's full-service community development non-profit PHDC work together to create and preserve affordable housing. The need outweighs the resources, but we are using creative strategies to maximize opportunities for residents in need. We have more information on statistics of our programs, if you are interested."
A spokesperson for IBID Associates said they have no comment. Residents of UC Townhomes are being told to vacate by October 8.