15 September 2016
Residents of Bromwell Street in Woodstock who are facing imminent eviction issued a press release denouncing Mayor Patricia de Lille for failing to help find a solution to the problem of providing temporary housing for the two dozen families being evicted.
After a visit by the mayor to the residents’ homes last week, the tenants were confident that De Lille had committed herself to helping them find a solution. Now, they say, she has abandoned her promise.
‘Today, we have to conclude that the mayor has not meaningfully considered the possibility of providing temporary alternative accommodation for the Bromwell Street families in Woodstock’ states the press release.
‘This eviction will leave 43 people homeless, 19 of whom are children. We are deeply concerned. There is no time for a blame game. The eviction is now eleven days away. We are disappointed in the mayor. But, there is still time for her and the City to help us. We hope that they will do so.’
Pierrinne Leukes, spokesperson for the mayor, said the City was never ordered by a court to find alternative housing solutions for the tenants.
‘The court found it to be a fair and equitable eviction and the order stands,’ she wrote in an email. ‘The mayor intervened in the hope of mediating between the owners and the tenants and finding an amicable solution.’
The eviction battle began in October 2013 when the Woodstock Hub purchased the homes on Bromwell Street and secured eviction orders against the current tenants.
The residents were told to vacate the property by 9 September, but the mayor helped them to push back the deadline to 26 September, arguing, according to the tenants’ press release, that ‘the City would look into the possibility of providing [the residents] with temporary alternative accommodation in the Woodstock area’.
Speaking to GroundUp, Charnell Commando, one of the residents, said the City was urging the residents to apply for social housing, which was not practical under the circumstances.
“We as tenants are disappointed because we thought they were going to come forward with something very concrete. They only came with proposals,” she said. “The proposals were that we should go and apply for social housing, which most of us don’t qualify for. It takes time if you go and apply … right now we don’t have time on our side,” said Commando.