Morris Court press conference Saturday, Aug. 26
August 26, 2006
Local pastors and poor, black residents railed on Area Housing Commission officials’ plans to demolish the low-income Morris Court housing project and build a new $12 million complex that will be unaffordable to the poor.
Morris Court residents testified Saturday they have not received official notice of the plans, have not received any assistance to move and in many cases cannot find low-income housing because of a shortage of units due to Hurricane Ivan and Dennis, which damaged many homes and created more homeless, revitalization that has wiped out the number of affordable units, rising market prices and other factors.
Rev. Jackie Slaughter of the Myrtle Grove UMC church, which has joined with about 50 other local pastors to oppose AHC’s plans and help Morris Court residents, says, “This is unfair and unjust. Jesus Christ has mandated that we love our neighbor. We will seek social justice.”
Rev. Michael Collins of The Charity Chapel says it is low-income housing that needs to be built and called on other political and community leaders to address the problem. “What do we call affordable? There is no place to go and the Housing Commission is doing this in the wake of Hurricane Ivan.”
Morris Court residents say Escambia County Commissioner Marie Young and City Councilman Ronald Townsend have been of little help.
“The tenants are in a panic. It is very stressful,” says Cathy Bascomb, the Morris Court Tenant Association president. “We want to know the truth of what is going on and we don’t know yet.” –Filed by Duwayne Escobedo