Twenty families have been staying in hotels since mid-September after being forced out of their homes when their apartment building in Logan collapsed last month. Now, they must evacuate their temporary lodging. They do not know when or if they will be allowed to return home.
On Friday, Philadelphia officials said the city will pay for a few more days of hotel stays for people who still don’t have homes. Advocates for the homeless ask a judge to order the apartment building’s management business to continue lodging the displaced inhabitants.
Osarugue Grace Osa-Edoh, an attorney for the tenants through Community Legal Services, a non-profit legal aid organization, said that around 20 families who had previously lived in the Lindley Towers apartment building were staying in three hotels in Bensalem after being displaced by the partial building collapse on September 14.
SBG Management, which oversees the building and other Philadelphia properties, had promised displaced hotel guest units. Still, on Thursday, they were informed that they would need to vacate their rooms by 11 a.m. on Friday. There was still a severe shortage of homes for many of the families.
The city announced Friday that it would cover the families’ accommodation costs through Wednesday. On Friday, Community Legal Services also submitted an urgent motion asking a judge to order SBG to keep renters in the motels. An appearance at the hearing has been called for Wednesday after the motion was granted.
“A matter of public record”-SBG Management says
On Friday morning, SBG Management declined to comment, saying that the subject was already a “matter of public record.” Tenants at 1220 Lindley Ave., who have been without a stable place to live for weeks owing to the partial collapse of the building, have received some disappointing news at the last minute.
“The owners’ lack of maintenance and care for the property led to its unsafe condition, which ultimately led to its collapse,” said Diana Cortes, city solicitor. “However, the court order obtained by the City’s Law Department will allow the City to continue affirming the housing rights of these residents while holding the owners accountable for their involvement in causing this housing and public safety disaster.”
One hundred people were evacuated from the seven-story building on September 14 after its upper half fell. Although nobody was hurt, the occupants were still not allowed to return. At the time, some tenants were concerned about the complex’s quality of life.
The city filed a lawsuit against the apartment building’s owner at the end of last month, alleging that the building posed an “ongoing threat” and asking for roughly $1.5 million to cover penalties and other fees.
In addition, Community Legal Services sued the building’s proprietor for immediate relief, stating that the building had been plagued by rodents for quite some time, among other things. The plaintiffs claimed that the inhabitants had been forced to contend with leaks, damaged appliances, and mold.