In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, WESA-Radio 90.5 FM
- Residents facing eviction from Penn Plaza and their supporters rallied on the steps of the City-County building Tuesday [February 21] afternoon, calling on the city to step up efforts to increase access to affordable housing.
According to Mayor Bill Peduto’s chief of staff Kevin Acklin, about 25 residents remain in the apartment complex and must vacate by March 31 to make way for redevelopment of the site.
“I have a lot of applications in, but we’re turned down everywhere,” said Mabel Duffy,78, who has a Section 8 voucher and has lived at Penn Plaza for nine years. She said she doesn’t know where she is going to move at the end of next month.
Acklin said the city sent a letter to the lawyer for the owners of Penn Plaza, LG Realty Advisors, last Thursday, informing the company it had received complaints from residents related to construction on the site.
In the letter, the city states that residents have complained of faulty heating units, asbestos tiles being torn up without proper precautions and lax security.
Duffy said there is also dust of some sort making its way into her apartment and that she fears for her health.
Duffy’s neighbor, Myrtle Stern, 76, is also concerned about health risks related to construction, and said there is a strange smell on the premises.
The city’s letter to attorney Jonathan Kamin asked for “written assurance that your client will cure these defects to living conditions” and that it will continue to honor the financial commitments agreed upon in a previous Memorandum of Understanding.
LG Realty had previously agreed to provide financial assistance to evicted residents. Acklin said so far, the company has honored that commitment for the more than 350 residents who have already moved out.