Philadelphia housing justice advocate Jennifer Bennetch died last week of COVID-19 complications at the age of 36. Bennetch helped lead a months-long encampment protest in 2020 that forced Philadelphia city officials to hand over 50 vacant homes to a community land trust — a historic win for unhoused people. Bennetch was a member of Philadelphia Housing Action. We spoke to her in September 2020 about the significance of the victory.
Jennifer Bennetch: “Instead of allowing housing authorities to, like, sell units and make money off of them, after they intentionally neglected them until they were too much for them to deal with, then allow community groups to take on those units and rehab them and use them for what their original use was, which is to house people in need.”
Bennetch is survived by her three children. Her eldest has launched a fundraiser to support them in the wake of her passing.