[diggers350] KWRU: Homeless set shacks in North Philadelphia FWD

Tom Boland wgcp at earthlink.net
Thu Jul 22 01:54:31 BST 1999

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FWD  Philadelphia Inquirer, July 12, 1999


     The Kensington Welfare Rights Union
     is settling at 10th and Green Streets.
     They call it Clintonville.

     By Anne Barnard
     Inquirer Staff Writer

 They cleared the tall grass from a vacant lot in North Philadelphia
yesterday and began building a village of the wood-frame shacks they called

 Members of the Kensington Welfare Rights Union, accompanied by homeless
adults and children, took over the ground at 10th and Green Streets, saying
that the city's slow response to the families' needs had left them with no

 They named their settlement Clintonville because they say President
Clinton's welfare reforms have left many people homeless.

 The group's leader, Cheri Honkala, said city officials and officers from
the Civil Affairs division of the Police Department visited the site
yesterday afternoon and told the group they lacked the required permits to
build there.

 Honkala vowed to stay and to be arrested if the police tried to force the
group off the site.

 But later yesterday evening, an officer with the Civil Affairs division
said police had decided not to take any action against the group before
today. She declined to say why.

 Members of the group have been arrested twice since last month, once in
Olney, where they had helped homeless families take over a vacant house
owned by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and again on
Independence Mall, where they protested the lack of affordable housing.

 Police said the homeless families were forced to leave the house in Olney
because the electricity in the house was not safe.

 Volunteers from Illinois and Arkansas and other states helped build the
shacks yesterday afternoon. Signs posted at the site proclaimed that
Philadelphia needs housing more than the new sports stadiums that are
dominating the political debate.

 Several homeless families used the tents during the afternoon. Honkala
said 60 people would spend the night at the site.


**In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is
distributed without charge or profit to those who have expressed a prior
interest in receiving this type of information for non-profit research and
educational purposes only.**

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