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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

乞臣街居民遭逼遷 華人前進會聲援


華人前進會與三十多名支持者,一月廿六日在華埠乞臣(Hudson)街103號前拉布條,呼籲業主,波士頓房屋局,以及社會大眾,支持華埠的穩定,繁榮,幫助遭逼遷華人,留在華埠。
華人前進會廿六日發出新聞稿,指乞臣街103號房東和波士頓房屋法庭下令租戶週三(廿八日)遷出承租處,以容許房東進行樓宇結構維修。但是大波士頓這兩天正好遇上歷史性的大風雪,簡直不可能搬家。
承租戶表示,他們需要更多時間搬家,而且臨時搬遷地點,得在華埠附近。他們也爭取一旦維修竣工,能夠搬回去原來租住的地方。
華人前進會表示,這些承租戶因為工作時間的關係,一旦遷離華埠,勢必失去工作及收入來源。
住在乞臣街103好的余艷蓉(譯音,Yannong Yu)表示,她在華埠工作,在華埠買雜貨,以華埠為家。一旦搬離,會不知道該怎麼辦才好,她很害怕。
華人前進會表示,一年多前,擁有該棟房屋已很多年的業主通知租戶得搬遷時,乞臣街103號居民就開始爭取繼續住在那兒。如今已一年多過去,情況很糟,只有一戶住宅有暖氣,每到冬天,水管就冰凍了,但房租每月七百到九百元,他們還負擔得起。
            華人前進會表示,一月十六日時,新房東以現金四十八萬元買了這棟樓,但躲在地產公司,以及第一薩福克律師樓背後,沒做必要的修理,顯然有意採取波士頓許多物業的處理方式,新業主要求房客遷出,以便維修,然後就拒絕讓原有承租房客回去住。第一薩福克律師樓的代表卡拉漢(Timothy P. O' Callaghan)在該物業被買下來以後,就不斷恐嚇承租戶。上週四,卡拉漢拿了一把大錘,把其中一名不讓他進房屋的租戶家的睡房房門敲穿了。上週他還告訴租戶的律師,那些租戶沒有權利一定要住在華埠。
            上週五,第一薩福克律師樓簽署了買賣合約,取得了相鄰的乞臣街101號。該棟房屋的租戶擔心他們會和鄰居一樣,也碰上同樣遭遇。他們決定爭取留在自己家,自己社區繼續居住的權利。
            華人前進會表示,乞臣街101103好的情況是華埠的冰山一角。在鄰近地帶豪華化,數以千計的豪華住宅建造起來後,幾代移民家庭長期以來居住的排屋,在發展商虎視眈眈,房租不斷高漲下,越來越危險。

圖片說明:

            華人前進會及華埠居民們日前在乞臣街角拉布條,支持租戶爭取繼續住在華埠。(圖由華人前進會提供)


We continue to support the tenants of 101 and 103 Hudson Street for the RIGHT TO REMAIN and RETURN to their homes! Tenants are told to relocate on Wednesday. The landlord only offered to place tenants in a place and location that they are unfamiliar with. With language and cultural barriers, in an unfamiliar location, tenants will face difficulties in buying food and getting to work.
The governor and mayor declared a state of emergency. For the sake of safety, we are asking First Suffolk LLC to allow the tenants to stay in their homes until after the blizzard and to temporarily relocate tenants to a place in Chinatown! We found vacancies in the Milner Hotel in Chinatown at a comparable rate as the unfamiliar place, but the landlord refused to accept it as an option for this temporary relocation.
‪#‎WeShallNotBeMoved‬ ‪#‎RChinatown‬ ‪#‎RBoston‬ ‪#‎ChinatownGentrification‬


Emergency Relocation Protest: In face of epic blizzard, Chinatown tenants decry order to relocate by Wednesday

BOSTON, MA – Tenants at 103 Hudson Street, a brick rowhouse located in Chinatown were ordered to move out by Wednesday, are saying the order by their landlord and Boston Housing Court to move out by Wednesday to make structural repairs to the building is impossible with the impending historic snowstorm.  Tenants say they need more time, and if they are temporarily relocated, it needs to be in or near Chinatown.  Tenants also say they will fight to be able return to their homes once the repairs are made.

Because of their work schedules, they would lose their jobs and source of income if they had to move from Chinatown.  Today, tenants with more than 30 supporters held a speak-out in front of their home and held a banner that read, “We shall not be moved from Chinatown.”  Yannong Yu, tenant at 103 Hudson Street, said, “I work in Chinatown.  I buy my groceries in Chinatown.  Chinatown is my home.  Chinatown is my family.  If I have to move, I don’t know what I will do.  I am scared.”

Tenants at 103 Hudson Street have been organizing to stay in their homes for more than a year, when the longtime owners first told them to move. Conditions are bad--only one apartment had heat, and the water pipes freeze every winter, but the rent is what they could afford, at $700 to $900 a month.
On January 16, with the current landlords unable to make the necessary repairs, developers hiding behind real estate company First Suffolk LLC swooped in to buy the distressed property in a $480,000 cash sale.  As they have done with other properties across the city, the new owners said they would relocate tenants and refuse to allow their return after repairs.  Since acquiring the property, First Suffolk LLC representative Timothy P. O' Callaghan has continually intimidated the tenants and violated their rights.  This past Thursday, O’Callaghan took a sledgehammer to break open the bedroom door of a tenant who did not give him permission to enter.  He also told the tenants' attorney early last week, "They don't have a right to Chinatown!" referring to the tenants of the building. 

This past Friday, First Suffolk LLC also signed a purchase and sale to acquire the adjoining property at 101 Hudson Street.  Tenants their also fear that they will experience the same harassment and intimidation that their neighbors faced.  They have vowed to fight for the right to remain in their homes and in their neighborhood.  Community residents and supporters from the Chinese Progressive Association said they will stand with the tenants to help them remain in their homes.

“Chinese Americans over the past 150 years have worked hard to build Chinatown into a thriving community they can be proud of,” says Karen Chen, Organizing Director of the Chinese Progressive Association.  “Now that the community is a desirable place to live, developers like First Suffolk LLC are coming into the neighborhood looking to make a quick profit and pushing out working class families out of Chinatown.”

The issues at 101 and 103 Hudson Street point to larger issues at hand in Chinatown.  With the gentrification of the neighborhood and the influx of thousands of luxury housing units, the historic brick row houses that have been the homes for immigrant families for generations are being threatened by speculative developers and rising rents.  Once providing stable and inexpensive homes for immigrant working class families, these three and four-story row houses today are more likely crammed with two or three families sharing space to afford the rising rents.

Longtime Chinatown owners often cannot afford to maintain the properties and make the expensive repairs for these aging buildings.  Predatory developers are ready to scoop up distressed properties for cash, leading to displacement of Chinatown's most vulnerable families.  Meanwhile, community members have formed a Chinatown Community Land Trust that is trying to purchase and preserve row houses like these for affordable housing.

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