City Hall visit & next up:

Arvilla residents facing eviction & concerned neighbors visited City Hall last week…

… where we met with Councilwoman Blackwell’s chief of staff & her director of housing. 

We shared our concerns about the building and how the sale & lease terminations were being handled by the nonprofit whose mission includes providing sustainable housing. 

We stressed the importance of taking good care of the residents & keeping affordable housing in the neighborhood. 

Some of the questions that we asked: 

(the Chief of Staff’s answers in Bold, and we were told that we’d get answers to the other questions in ten days at the earliest)

  • Will Councilwoman Blackwell meet with Mission First & talk with them about this situation? (Yes)
  • Is she concerned about the loss of affordable housing (Yes)
  • Is she willing to meet the residents of the Arvilla at the building, possibly for a walkthrough in addition to a meeting? (Yes, but couldn’t be immediately scheduled)
  • Will her office look into the landlord practices of Mission First? (Yes)
  • What does the Councilwoman think of Mission First’s responsibility as a publicly-funded organization?
  • If People’s Emergency Center is willing to maintain the building and serve as landlord, can she brainstorm funding possibilities?
  • Is the Councilwoman willing to call UPenn President Amy Gutmann publicly to discuss Penn funding the purchase of the Arvilla and turning it over to the PEC? (She is “comfortable exploring this with Penn.”)
  • Could the Councilwoman hold a larger hearing on the broader issue? (Yes)
  • Could we get a delay on evictions until the end of the school year?

After the meeting, a smaller group of us ventured through city hall and spoke to members of Helen Gym & Blondell Reynolds Brown’s staff who also seemed to understand our concerns. 

But we need more than understanding… we need these concerns addressed. 

We need the sale of the building stopped, lease terminations revoked, and a different outcome that gives the building the maintenance and investment that it requires while maintaining it as affordable housing. 

Most importantly, we need to support the current residents and those who’ve just been forced to leave. 

What’s next:

Residents got a brief extension until Jan 31st thanks to public outcry and press coverage, and that’s a small relief but the few months notice are still not enough. Particularly for the residents who’ve been there a long time or for mom being asked to relocate three kids in the middle of the school year.

We need your help:

Make some calls to City Council & the Mayor’s office. Share your concerns, ask some of your own questions, and let us know what they say!

Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell – (215) 686-3418
Councilwoman Helen Gym – (215) 686-3420
Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds-Brown – (215) 686-3438
Mayor Jim Kenney – (215) 686-2181

Reach out to share strategies & connections or join our organizing committee: arvillaorganizing@gmail.com

Get ready to share some $… we’re setting up a fund through a local nonprofit so that we can raise money to directly support the Arvilla residents in this time of uncertainty and added expense. Sign up below and we’ll let you know when that’s ready.

Spread the word far and wide via social media & in-person conversations, and ask your favorite press outlets to cover this story.

Sign up for updates:

Make sure to join this Google Group and keep an eye out for email updates as we move forward. 

Thank you.