Occupy Philly protesters took to East Mount Airy last night to support a family trying to get their house back.
In September, Florence Mason and her family of six were evicted from their home on the 100 block of East Meeham Avenue in East Mt. Airy. As protestors were being told to leave Dilworth Plaza on Tuesday night, a small group gathered on the Mason’s porch to hear their story and help defend their home.
Florence Mason says she and her family lived under Section 8 housing. She said she complained to the Philadelphia Housing Authority about the poor quality of living conditions there, which resulted in a letter sent from the city’s Licenses and Inspection office to the landlord, requiring her to make changes.
Instead of making the necessary repairs, Florence says the landlord falsified paperwork to make it look like Mason payed a different amount of rent per month, resulting in a stop of the subsidized part of the rent and multiple evictions of the family. Florence Mason’s case went to court.
On Tuesday night, the Mason family opened up their two-story rowhome to show, what they say are, the deplorable conditions left by the landlord after they were evicted.
“The landlord took all the furniture, cut all the pipes, there is no heat or running water. The place is a total mess,” said Occupy Philly’s Arturo Castillon.
“We don’t have any money, we are running back and forward,” she said. “On Sept. 3, my dog got killed, [police] say they found the dog on the street as a stray although they got her from this address.”
“They arrested my 11-year-old and had her in handcuffs,” she added. “My daughter was kneed in the back and almost fell to the concrete. They had my 13-year-old in handcuffs and punched him in the stomach while he was in handcuffs.”
Mason says she reported the situation to officials but feels that no one is helping.
On Oct. 14, she says she was told to get rid of everything in the house. The water and heat were cut off and, a day later, Florence – still trying to live in the house – was arrested.
“The neighbors were shocked to see so many cop cars, it looked like they were drug dealers or that they were busting somebody for a crime. We did’t commit a crime, we were protecting our rights to housing. It’s my right to have a decent house to live in.”