Friday’s deadline for residents to move out of the Roosevelt Building on Penn Avenue is on hold, at least for now.
It was a second full day in court Thursday as tenants fought with management about being able to stay in their building. A fire tore through the building in mid-December, creating heavy water and smoke damage. An elderly woman, 80-year-old Barbara Johnson lost her life in that fire.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE >>> Elderly woman dies in high-rise fire at Roosevelt building while trying to escape
The Roosevelt says the building has been condemned and it’s not safe for people to continue living inside. They called a forensic pathologist, a city building inspector and a industrial hygienist to testify about the health hazards posed by asbestos, mold and structural concerns.
Despite the latest ruling, people are still moving out of the Roosevelt, telling Channel 11 that not enough was done for them.
“What do I want out of the situation? I don’t even know. I want my money back. I want people to be able to stay in their homes. But I don’t want to stay,” one tenant told 11 News.
Lawyers for the tenants argue their clients require subsidized housing and there is currently a one to three years waiting list.
They testified that living among health hazards is a better option that living on the streets in the middle of the winter, especially considering how many folks are elderly, have disabilities or serious health concerns. Management says there are still roughly 30-35 people without a place to live.
There is a Housing Stabilization Center on 7th Avenue trying to help place these tenants. They will be able to move to the top of a HUD housing waitlist.
During conference hearings, the tenants will have to work with both parties and prove they’re actively trying to find new housing.
This is a developing story.
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