by JuJuBe (Joanna)
Imagine for a moment that you are in the twilight years of your life. You have been living in a home that you purchased with pride 30 or more years ago. You are surrounded by your children and grandchildren, and the community that you have grown to love. You should be spending the rest of your days in the house that you turned into a home.
Instead, all of a sudden, that home that you spend so many years in is being snatched out from under you. For no good reason except pure greed.
Arlington, Va.—Just three days before Christmas, Nancy Lopez was notified that she has until January 15, 2011, to accept the offer made for her home by the Township of Mount Holly, N.J., or have it seized through eminent domain. Merry Christmas, Nancy.Source
Last week, she received an appraisal for her home in the Gardens neighborhood of Mount Holly. Township officials have been systematically dismantling her close-knit community of row houses that up until recently was home to more than 300 families. Since 2003, the Township bought more than 200 homes under the threat of eminent domain, and if the remaining owners don’t accept the appraisals being sent to them this holiday season, their homes will be condemned against their will early in the New Year.
The Township wants to give the land to Philadelphia developer Keating Urban Partners, which plans to build hundreds of higher-priced townhouses, apartments and a business center. According to Pulte Home’s website, some of the new town homes will sell for in the upper $200s.
Most of the people being forced out of their homes are in there 70s, 80s or even their 90s. The majority are Black or Hispanic. Almost all have lived in their homes for over 30 years, and were first time home buyers. Now, they are being forced out so that a private developer can turn their neighborhood into an upscale and unrecognizable profit making machine.
And to make the circumstances even more unbearable, the town has been demolishing houses that are connected to homes that are still occupied, causing mold infestations and structural damage. Many of the residents of the Gardens who are being forced out of their homes have experienced serious health complications and family tragedies since the plan to seize their homes was first unveiled. This is not the type of concern that some of our most vulnerable, senior citizens, need to be preoccupied with at this point in their lives.