DEC 18, 2016–
The city has a problem with vacants, and we are told that these properties have no value. Yet housing speculation, supported by the city, moves millions of dollars–exchanged by developers–through these properties without ever entering the community. The problems of our neighborhoods are invisible to the city, and we cannot be left unseen any longer. We need investment in our communities; we need community control of the land and visibility of our demands.
On December 18, 2016, community members transformed the plywood boards on three vacant houses on the 800 block of N. Patterson Park by painting over them with colorful images of what neighbors would like to see in their community, including: recreation centers, grocery stores, parks, green-spaces, storefronts, and career centers. In addition to the placement of the boards, Housing our Neighbors unveiled the findings of a two-year research project showing that over the last 15 years, $30 million has flowed through real estate transactions involving vacant houses without ever landing in the McElderry Park community. In light of these findings, neighborhood residents gathered to stress the importance of stable employment, responsible public policy, and fair development in addressing the problem of vacants. It’s time that new actions are taken in order to meet the needs of our communities. This action is just one to ensure the realization of our ultimate goal: permanently affordable housing for all! -Joe Evans and Michael Casiano (Eastside Housing Committee, United Workers)