Philly Socialists - Solidarity Network Fights for Fair Housing

I'm a member of the four person organizing committee for the West Philly Socialists.

We have two projects. One is a free GED tutoring program that we're running at a local library on 52nd. The goal is to demonstrate our support for quality public education and to provide a direct remedy to shortcomings in the underfunded public school system (while we also take other actions - like joining a recent protest of the School Reform Commission's decision to cancel the teacher's contract).

The project that I'm most involved is the Solidarity Network. It is based on the Seattle Solidarity Network.

Currently we're on our second fight. We're fighting for a tenant who wants adequate heat, proper maintenance (hole in their ceiling fixed), pest control (flies and bed bugs), and respect for their trans gender identity.

Here we are delivering our demand letter to a nonprofit target downtown. It's a great showing of support - especially considering that we had many supporters who were unable to make it at the 4pm time. Unfortunately we have to deliver demand letters when people work - which is often in the 9-5pm schedule.

One thing that I've learned from this fight is that our social services are suffering from severe neglect. The workers are over-worked and underpaid leading to stress for both the workers and the people who need their services. For instance, our tenant's building appears to have had a decline in building maintenance since 2012 - as the property manager stopped being on site and they reduced their maintenance (possibly stopping it on the two hot water boilers).

I'm confident that we'll win this fight.

We've got a third fight coming up where we'll take on a landlord who stole a tenant's security deposit by billing for repairs (painting in this case) that they didn't do. Apparently many landlords do this. We're going to win that fight as well.

Besides our projects, we also do a lot of social events, outreach (tabling and postering), and a smaller number of educational events. So far we had two barbecues this year attracting an average of fifty people to each one!

The Philly Socialists have two branches. The organization started in Kensington / Northern Liberties and has its first branch there. We launched the West Philly branch in 2014.