Astor House Tenants Fight Back with Halloween Week of Action

In the next week, Astor House residents – who are still fighting for their rights as tenants more than a year after their building was purchased by BJB Properties — will seek to make their voices heard through two events.

On Thursday Oct. 31, tenants and supporters from Northside Action for Justice and Communities United Against Foreclosure and Eviction will converge downtown to march for tenants’ rights and announce the next steps in their fight.

They will meet at 9 a.m. at Daley Plaza for a march and 10 a.m. press conference, then head to Daley Center Courtroom 1404 at 10:30 a.m. to support tenant Melvin Jennings at his eviction trial.

On Sunday Nov. 3, tenants and activists will seek to hold BJB Properties accountable for its deplorable actions toward tenants. Details of the event will be announced by Sunday morning.

“As we mark a year since BJB began their campaign of gentrification in this building, we see the same story of forced move-outs and homelessness happening all over the city,” tenant Melvin Jennings says. “But we will continue to fight for affordable housing and tenants’ rights.”:

Since BJB bought the Astor House property at 1246 W. Pratt in fall 2012, it has evicted dozens of tenants, and a number of them have ended up in shelters and on the streets.

Even as the building’s property manager claimed tenants were being evicted so the company could make repairs, he rented apartments to new tenants — who found the same mice, bedbugs and roaches that BJB had ignored when tenants complained about them months earlier.

“We were tricked,” says former Astor House tenant Sarah Weinman, who broke her lease just weeks after moving in. “Management never told us about the faulty elevators, the building code violations, or the problems with hot water and heat. No tenant should have to live in these circumstances.”