Here are some thoughts from our organizing meeting last Wednesday.
[SAVE THE DATE: Tues Nov 27, 12:30pm @ City Hall Room 408!]
– A first win: Getting an extension for tenants till Jan 31st is a big win, and shows how powerful public attention to these matters can be.
– Need more press: The article in the inquirer was great, and a large part of why we got that first win. We had a radio journalist at the meeting who is pitching the story to WHYY, and someone’s expressed interest in writing something for the Hidden City blog. How can we get more press coverage? Please share this story with others & reach out to journalists & bloggers.
– Financial support for residents: We’re working on finding a fiscal sponsor who can act as a pass-through for a fundraising effort. Stay tuned for that, but we’ll be looking to raise money to support the residents & help offset moving costs. Make sure that you’re on the email list for updates.
– Finding buyer(s) / donor(s): The sale doesn’t seem to be a done deal yet, so we may have gotten enough time to shape a different outcome. That would mean gathering a big chunk of wealth together soon though, so that’s a big stretch. There’s an organization that has offered to take over the building and do right by the residents, but we’d have to raise the cash elsewhere. Who do we know who has access to folk with $$$ who want to make a difference in individual lives? Contact ArvillaOrganizing@gmail.com with leads.
– Putting pressure on Penn? As the Inquirer article pointed out, the University’s policies have influenced the development of the neighborhood in many ways – some positive, and some unanticipated. Penn, as an institution that values diversity in its community, is uniquely suited to step in here and shape the neighborhood change in a way mitigates some of the harm to long term residents. Would students mount a campaign? Or parents at the Penn-Alexander school? Or does someone have some influence higher up?
– Bigger concerns about Mission First: As we’ve learned about lawsuits in Washington DC, we’ve also got larger concerns about how Mission First is fulfilling their mission. If they are able to work with the community to shape a different outcome for the Arvilla, that would be a step towards proving their commitment to their stated mission of providing “sustainable” homes and “providing long term benefits to residents and neighborhoods alike.”
– Delivering petitions & meeting w/ City Council: We’ll be meeting with Councilwoman Blackwell on Tuesday Nov 27th at 12:30pm at City Hall (room 408) – please join us:
If you know anyone who thinks that any of the following are wrong…
* Kicking out an 81 yr old elder who’s been in the building for ~50 years on just 6 weeks notice.
* Kicking out a young woman with 3 kids (who was just invited into the building 6 months ago when sale was surely planned) in the middle of the school year.
* Collecting taxpayer dollars for the purpose of providing “sustainable” homes and then selling the building on short notice to developers w/ no connection to the community.
… then please share the invite with them too.