In Philadelphia, housing activists celebrated a historic victory Friday, after city officials agreed to hand over 50 vacant homes to a community land trust following months of organizing by unhoused people, including protest encampments and taking over vacant homes. Fifty mothers and children who have been occupying 15 vacant city-owned houses will also be permitted to stay as part of the deal. Philadelphia Housing Action, the group behind the direct action campaign, will set up the community land trust.
Sterling Johnson, an organizer with Black and Brown Workers Cooperative, welcomed the news but stressed it is only a first step, saying, “There was already a major housing crisis in Philadelphia, and we anticipate a wave of mass evictions on top of that due to COVID-19. The scale of the housing crisis would require thousands of new units of low-income housing … This is only the beginning.” Click here to see our interview with Sterling Johnson in July about the Philadelphia encampments.