In Face of Homelessness, Tenants Gather for Holiday Vigil

CHICAGO—(ENEWSPF)—December 6, 2013. Several remaining tenants at the Astor House building, located at 1246 W. Pratt, have received word that they will be evicted next week.

As they put their belongings into storage and prepare to move into shelters and relatives’ homes, the tenants and their supporters will gather Saturday, December 7 at 4:30 p.m. for a candlelight vigil and press conference.

They will sing housing justice carols, picket the building, and line local streets to mourn BJB Properties’ decision to make tenants homeless for the holidays and 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore’s refusal to intercede on their behalf.

Among the tenants being evicted is Charles Roth, a bedridden tenant who recently uncovered records indicating that he had pre-paid his rent through July 2014. Still, he is scheduled to be evicted next week.

The building’s management has repeatedly filed eviction lawsuits against tenants for money they paid the building’s previous owner.

Roth and his caregiver have not yet found an apartment that will accept them, and will likely end up on the street.

“What has happened at the Astor House must not happen again — in Rogers Park, or anywhere in the city,” says tenant Melvin Jennings, who is being forced to relocate out of state. “No one should be treated the way that we were.”

BJB has filed more than 55 eviction cases against tenants at the Astor House in an effort to empty out one of the last affordable rental properties in Rogers Park. Tenants have fought their evictions for over a year without receiving relocation assistance or a seat at the negotiating table with BJB.

The new tenants are victims as well. After making superficial repairs, BJB rented apartments in the building to new tenants at higher prices. A number have broken their leases due to the building’s chronic problems with roaches, bedbugs and a lack of hot water.

City records show the building has been cited with 44 building code violations in 2013.  New tenants were not notified of these violations.

Source: unitedagainstevictions