Filed under: Announcement, Housing, Northeast
Call from the Philly Tenants Union for a city-wide rent strike starting on May 1st.
On Friday 5/1, thousands of Philadelphians will participate in a rent strike, either in solidarity with other tenants or because they cannot afford to pay rent. Over 1.3 million Pennsylvanians have filed for unemployment, meaning 1 in 5 workers in the state are jobless. A recent study found that Pennsylvania’s unemployment trust fund will run out of money in 11 weeks, a timeline far shorter than most other states.
Read the Philadelphia Rent Control Coalition's statement on COVID-19 and list of demands: pic.twitter.com/E36ksbfvZF
— Philly Tenants Union (@PHLTenantsUnion) April 17, 2020
The Philadelphia Tenants Union has published an official call for a citywide rent strike to take place on May 1st. The guidelines for the strike are laid out in an official statement on their website. The guidelines include filling out a form so that the organization can connect tenants with each other who share the same landlord to draft collective demands for reduced or cancelled rents. If landlords refuse to provide relief for tenants who cannot pay, then that is when the tenants officially join the rent strike. It is imperative that the largest Real Estate Firms in Philadelphia – with the most political influence – feel the organized power of their tenants, and Philadelphia Tenants Union is working hard to build those unions.
The strike’s demands are directed towards Pa.’s Governor Tom Wolf, State Senators and State Representatives to:
Cancel rent and mortgage payments for 6 months, with no debt accrued.
Enforce rent and mortgage forgiveness for any missed payments dating back to March, 2020.
Demands are also directed towards Philadelphia’s Mayor Kenney and City Council members to:
Make all evictions, eviction filing, and foreclosures illegal for at least 6 months
Freeze rent rates at the current level for a year beyond the end of the crisis
Enforce comprehensive rent control
Take immediate action to provide housing for the houseless
Build city-funded public housing that will meet the city’s need
The Philadelphia Tenants Union will also be offering support in three forms. The first is with an “Emergency Anti-Eviction Task Force” that will use legislative methods and direct action to disrupt and prevent evictions. The second is a “Rent Strike Fund” which will provide monetary funds for legal support for collectives of tenants on strike. Thirdly, is “Organizing Support”, providing resources and guidance to tenants as they prepare for May 1st.
Worried about rent or your neighbor's ability to stay safely housed? Get in touch. This is the time for tenant councils, collective bargaining and strikes. We have office hours Monday, Wednesday & Fridays 2-4 & organizing workshops. You won't stand alone. pic.twitter.com/uBxD16SXDy
— Philly Tenants Union (@PHLTenantsUnion) April 21, 2020
The Rent Strike is a preventative measure for combating displacement and potential homelessness in the city and state, and is a direct action to pressure state legislators to provide immediate assistance to the impending economic recession. The official statement and rent strike guide can be found on Philadelphia Tenants Union’s website.