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星期三, 2月 08, 2017
Chinatown Fights Hotel Proposal and Displacement of Dozens of Residents
BOSTON (Feburary 8, 2017) – About 100 Chinatown residents and their supporters rallied today in support of dozens of residents living at 22-30 Oxford Street facing a 20% rent increase and at risk of displacement. The Chinese Progressive Association reports that they have helped over 60 families facing rent increases and eviction over the past two years in Chinatown alone. Chinatown has experienced skyrocketing real estate values following the addition of nearly 3,000 luxury units in the past 15 years.
Karen Ng and Mei Qin Wu, tenants at 22-30 Oxford Street, spoke at the rally. “Many of our families have kids attending the nearby schools. For families with young kinds, you know how hard it is to find a place. This is our home and our community. We are here fighting for our right to remain.” The tenants are demanding a five year lease with the proposed rent increase phased in over the five years. The tenants also report that there is a long list of repairs that need to be made to the building that they are demanding to be fixed immediately.
The property was bought by 18-20 Oxford Street, LLC in the past year. Sing Ming Chan has represented himself to the tenants as the landlord and also recently purchased 15-25 Harrison Avenue, a former single room occupancy (SRO) building that housed more than 50 residents, all low-income Chinese immigrants. Five years to this day, the tenants were evacuated from the building and were homeless, because the fire department found that the building was structurally unsafe to live in. Mr. Chan is proposing to build a 26-story hotel at the location. Pao Lin, a former resident at 15-25 Harrison Avenue, said, “Chinatown is here today and prosperous, because of the people who came before us and built up the community. Because now so many people want to live in Chinatown, we have a housing crisis. Chinatown is a home for immigrants and we need to fight for our right to remain!”
Protesters then marched to Reggie Wong Park where the Massachusetts Department of Transportation is planning to sell the land to the highest bidder. Activists are calling for preservation and expansion of the park and affordable housing to be built on the site. For many, the park is an important recreational space for many of the local athletic associations and community members who play volleyball after work. “Land is a valuable and scarce resource in Chinatown. Public land should be used for public good and not sold for maximum profit. Chinatown is not for sale!” said Lydia Lowe, Co-Director of the Chinese Progressive Association. Ms. Lowe also called on residents to support anti-displacement measures put forward by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh including the Jim Brooks Community Stabilization Act, which would make no fault evictions illegal and provide information and resources to tenants being evicted.