Former Astor House tenants and their supporters to hold protest today after four families were evicted

Will detail BJB Properties’ actions, demand change, and outline next steps

(From Cuafe Chi)

Letters to Editors

Former Astor House tenants and their supporters will hold a protest today at Daley Plaza (Clark and Randolph side), at 10:15 A.M.

On Friday, four families were evicted from the Astor House building at 1246 W. Pratt. And reportedly several tenants’ belongings were “cruelly dumped” outside the building — many with items missing.

After building owner Jamie Purcell and 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore refused to intervene and help tenants, at least six people are now homeless, including an ill tenant who had nowhere to go but the hospital.

One of the evicted tenants, Melvin Jennings, had been told by a judge on Wednesday that he would not be evicted until January. Another tenant was illegally evicted on Friday despite having a court hearing on his eviction set for today. Tenants and supporters will attend the 11 a.m. court hearing immediately following the press conference.

“I was angry, mad, upset,” says former tenant Arbie Bowman, who helped move evictees’ belongings out from the sidewalk. “Because you’re looking at somebody who had a place to live, now has nowhere to go and their stuff is being put on the street like they’re a villain.”

Another tenant, Anthony Ollins, who was illegally locked out of his apartment three weeks ago, has since been awarded damages by a judge for the theft of his belongings by property management. But, he says, it amounts to just a slap on the wrist for the multi-billion-dollar company.

“They should be prosecuted for breaking and entering,” Ollins says. He adds: “BJB are a bunch of crooks. They take advantage of good, honest working people for their own greed. They get people in here, but don’t plan on doing repairs to your apartment. It’s all about making a quick buck off tenants.”

Many of the tenants have received legal assistance from the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing, which will also participate in the press conference.