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  • Writer's pictureMichael Hays

Keeping the Focus on Solutions and Avoiding Sweeps

Norristown Council President Thomas Lepera’s chair sat empty during Tuesday’s council meeting. Meanwhile, members of the community turned out again to voice support for those battling a severe shortage of affordable housing. The evening also featured some positive news, with a former Schuylkill River Trail denizen announcing that she has secured an apartment in Norristown.

Although the demonstration was smaller in comparison to June 6, the Montco 30% Project and our allies remain committed to this community and this issue for the long-term. We are proud to announce that our advocacy efforts are expanding into Delaware County! Keep an eye on our website for news and resources in Delco.

Jane Pekol, left, and Sherry Hippenstiel-Johnson, demonstrate outside council chambers

As for the council meeting, check out The Reporter for a full recap. This meeting was a work session, so a recording is unavailable.

Rachel Ravina reported that 63-year-old Cheryl Spaulding found housing after living in a tent for nearly a year, adding: “Spaulding was able to find housing, and she moved into her new apartment in Norristown on Tuesday. Her adult son, also homeless with mental health issues, has received assistance, she said. While she was grateful her personal situation has improved, she said she wanted to come to the work session to shed light on all those still living outside.”

Moving forward, we plan to meet with elected officials throughout Montgomery County and make the case for equitable and just policies to ensure that as many people as possible have access to housing that fits their budget. For those without shelter, the burden must be shared among multiple municipalities to offer temporary shelter space.

But as a system of insecurity and deprivation, housing manages our lives in such a way as to disaggregate our common experiences, individualize our challenges, and pit us in competitive, hostile, fights with one another– for security, for an apartment or home loan, for control of a block, or a neighborhood. This individualization of experience cuts us off from one another, casting us into the privatized realm of domestic space and its exclusions.”

— Craig Willse (The Value of Homelessness: Managing Surplus Life in

The United States)

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