PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It was a demand for decent and affordable housing for everyone.
“We can tell the developers, we can tell the politicians to put people before profits,” protester Alethea Sims said.
A march and protest began Saturday afternoon near several new apartment buildings at Penn Avenue and Centre Avenue in East Liberty.
Displaced residents from the Penn Plaza apartments say it’s too expensive to live in the new luxury building.
“Look at this here, this is $2,000, this is $3,000, what are we going to do with these houses?” displaced resident Myrtle Stern said.
“They build all these high end apartments and none of us can go into them, they wont accept us,” displaced resident O’Harold Hoots said.
Protesters were particularly upset when Penn Plaza apartments were closed and several hundred residents were forced to move, in part to make way for a new Whole Foods grocery store.
“This is not progress in my opinion, this is the death of a neighborhood,” Sims said.
“We were here in the hard times, we were here when there was nothing in East Liberty and now it’s too good for us to live here, that’s ridiculous,” Hoots said.
Due to the uproar in the community, Whole Foods cancelled plans to build the new store.
Protesters say thousands of people already lost their homes due to development. Now they say the city has an opportunity to return affordable housing.
“We’re going to be calling on the city to purchase the Penn Plaza site again to bring affordable housing back to the site where it has been for 50 years,” community organizer Randle Taylor said.
The protesters say no one wants to stop progress, they just want poor and low income families to be included.