Photo: The Park at Trowbridge apartment complex in Southfield, Michigan. liberation photo
A Southfield, Michigan real estate company put false release notices on the doors of its 8th floor residents on March 18. Contour Companies, which just bought the building, tried to use the bogus reviews to scare tenants into moving out early so they could convert the 8th floor of the building into more profitable retirement homes. Illegal notices incorrectly state that tenants have only one week to move out or be brought to justice for eviction. A true departure notice must give tenants at least 30 days to move out.
Vanessa Yemoja, who has lived on the 8th floor for about a year, told Liberation News the tenants immediately knew the notice was illegal. “We all know that evictions do not happen in a week, legally it is not possible,” she said.
Legality, however, was not the concern or purpose of the opinion. According to Yemoja, âThis is a scary tactic that a lot of homeowners use on low income people to scare them into thinking they need to move out ASAP.
Yemoja explained that on the day the bogus notices were posted, âa ‘town hall’ is what they [Contour Companies] would like to call it, has been arranged for all 8th floor tenants. The new management let us know that we had a week to collect our things and leave, which of course is illegal.
At that meeting, Andrew Ortega, the owner of the units, “pretended to call the police to scare the tenants because most of the people there were black,” Yemoja said.
The police were eventually called, but what happened next was unexpected. According to Yemoja: âThe police were telling management that there was not much they could do and that they could not stop us and that they could not do anything because what the management company was doing was not. correct.
Despite this illegal behavior, Contour Companies presents itself as a progressive company with the mission statement: “We are creating communities for idyllic lives – and we are doing it right”.
The city rewards the gentrification of the company
The marketing apparently convinced the Southfield city government, which sold the vacant Northland Mall at Contour Companies for just $ 11 million last year. The company plans to turn the former world-class mall, the first mall built in the Detroit metro, into apartments.
According to Yemoja, Contour Companies are profiting from the gentrification of Southfield. “I want people to understand that gentrification is not something that’s right against minorities, gentrification can be against young people, it can be against low-income people, and that’s definitely what they are. font, âshe said.
As for solutions, âI would really like the government to do more on housing during the pandemic. The fact that we still have to fight a pandemic to pay the bills of landlords who try to illegally evict us is disgusting, âsaid Yemoja. âSituations like this are disastrous for people’s existence when it comes to shelter, because it is a basic need that all humans should be met at the bare minimum. ”
âJust because people have lower incomes or just because people are in the minority doesn’t mean they don’t deserve human rights,â Yemoja added.
The housing crisis intensifies the fight
While homelessness has always been a man-made crisis under capitalism, with vacant housing outnumbering homeless people 6 to 1 in the United States, the coronavirus pandemic and the accompanying economic crisis have made matters worse.
The CDC’s moratorium was due to expire at the end of March, but was extended on March 29 for an additional three months until June 30.
If this moratorium is finally allowed to expire, it will almost certainly result in a flood of pending eviction proceedings.
In Michigan, community organizations have long called for systemic change and appear to have gained momentum as a result of the crisis. The Moratorium Now Coalition has organized several protests in the Detroit State Building to demand that Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the state legislature impose a one-year moratorium on all evictions, foreclosures and closures of public services and free up federal funding to help stop evictions.
Dozens of people attended a barbecue fundraiser on March 27 to support a Detroit resident facing an illegal eviction. A mass demonstration Against Evictions was called for April 10 by Detroit Will Breathe and Detroit Eviction Defense.