Outraged protesters gathered at a lot in Kensington Wednesday after it was discovered that six homeless families were living there.
NBC10 viewers sent us photos of the families who were living in tents on American and Cumberland streets. The six families, which include small children, say they had to take the drastic measures due to a lack of beds at local shelters and a lack of vouchers for emergency housing.
“That’s how we ended up here,” said Tara Colon, a member of one of the homeless families. “We can’t afford the rent. Two minimum wage jobs aren’t enough! You need food! You need clothes on your kid’s back!”
After the photos spread on social media, protesters came out at the location for a rally Wednesday afternoon. Several residents also gave donations to the families.
Protest organizers said the city is spending millions to host the Pope later this month when they should be spending money to help the homeless. They also called for Philly officials to turn abandoned properties into homes for those in need.
“We think that there’s something wrong with millions of people coming into the Philadelphia area to see the Pope and yet can’t figure out how to feed, clothe and house our children,” said Cheri Honkala of the Poor People’s Human Rights Campaign. “Our city can afford not just to host the Pope! We can afford to house these families!”
Officials with the Philadelphia Housing Authority told NBC10 they came to an agreement with the families and will supply them with vouchers Thursday morning to obtain public housing.