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Statement On Cheri Honkala’s First Amendment Case Against HUD

On June 14, the DC Court of Appeals will hear arguments around internationally-recognized housing advocate Cheri Honkala’s appeal of a misdemeanor conviction for seeking an audience in 2018 with Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Ben Carson. The case could set an important precedent on the First Amendment right of the people to petition their government for assistance without fear of punishment for doing so, a right that extends back to the 1215 Magna Carta. Watch the hearing live on the court’s YouTube channel: For decades, Cheri Honkala has been a fearless defender of people’s right to have housing.

Families Wait Years For Housing Vouchers Due To Inadequate Funding

Due to limited program funding, families struggling to afford housing that manage to get off the waiting list for a Housing Choice Voucher must typically wait for years before receiving a voucher, CBPP analysis of Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) data shows. Among the 50 largest housing agencies, only two have average wait times of under a year for families that have made it off of the waiting list; the longest have average wait times of up to eight years.

No Evictions For 30+ Families In Philadelphia Takeover Houses

The National Lawyers Guild stands in solidarity with the Poor People’s Army and all of the 30+ families that are sheltered in homes that are reclaimed, abandoned properties in Philadelphia. Three families in Philadelphia, residing in homes owned by the Department of Housing & Urban Development, have received notices or threats of eviction within the last 2 months, and could be thrown out into the freezing cold at any moment. Poor People’s Army / Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign has filed 3 pro se federal injunctions for these properties and are likely to go to court any day. The families should not be viewed as trespassers or criminals, they are human beings that have a right to safe housing.

Family Faces Eviction By Agency Meant To Help Them

Philadelphia, PA - Imagine being a parent, hustling “gig economy” jobs, without a home during the COVID-19 pandemic. For Jasmine and Ariel, this has been the reality since May. They are a couple in their 30s, both with children from previous relationships, and navigating the minefields of poverty and pandemic. They had an apartment, but when Jasmine missed a check-in with her probation officer, she was sent to prison, leaving Ariel with no way to pay the rent and without a home. According to a recent study conducted by geographers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, there are 10 abandoned properties for every 1 homeless person in Philadelphia.
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