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Philly ACORN Demands Action on Abandoned Houses

Philadelphia Tribune, News Report, Robert Hightower Posted: Jul 16, 2009

The members of the Association of Community Organization for Reform Now want the city to do something about the abandoned houses in neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia.

ACORN held a demonstration at the Municipal Services Building earlier this week to ask the Department of Licenses and Inspection to either clean and seal or tear down the vacated homes.

ACORN member Louise Cleveland said she is personally affected by derelict houses.

I have two abandoned homes next to me that have been that way for over 20 years, she said.

The houses have adverse effects that trickle throughout the neighborhood, according to Cleveland.

In one of the houses the water had not been cut off, she said. Someone got in there and took the pipes. The next-door neighbor went in her basement and it was flooded. Thats the damage these houses do to the neighbors.

Cleveland noted she has witnessed the negative activities the empty homes invite.

The homeless people and the addicts use those homes to stay in. I know because I used to hear them next to me, Cleveland said.

Another member, Connie McDaniel, shared similar sentiments.

Ive been trying for years to get the house next door to me at 5939 Springfield Avenue torn down for years, McDaniel said. The roofs collapsed, its filled with garbage, and its damaging my property. Yet, despite my calls, the city has done nothing,

As part of the demonstration, ACORN demanded to speak with an official affiliated with the department.

A short time later, Thomas C. McDade III, who is the executive director of enforcement and neighborhood services, addressed ACORNs concerns.

Ive asked them to make sure that any request they have they call 3-1-1, McDade said.

McDade said he would check into the matter at hand.

Im going to go upstairs and take a look at the sheet they have given me and get a status report on where we are with each individual property, he said. I will then contact them.

ACORN members also presented McDade with a list of homes in the city that piqued their concerns. After the impromptu meeting Cleveland said she would reserve judgment pertaining to her satisfaction.

If they dont shut the houses up, they need to tear them down because we are living in danger with these abandoned homes, she said. What we were told is on hold until we see the action. We will be back.

ACORN is the nations largest grassroots community organization of low- and moderate-income people with over 400,000 member families organized into more than 1,200 neighborhood chapters in 110 cities across the country.

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