PHILADELPHIA - A judge ordered the owners of Lindley Towers in Philadelphia to make all necessary repairs and put safety systems in place after a partial collapse in the building’s facade last Wednesday.
Tenants were forced to evacuate and have been staying in temporary housing since then. Some are staying with friends, others are in shelters and tenant Joshua Allen said he’s been living out of his car.
"I’ve been on the streets since then. I’ve been sleeping in my car. Bags in my car, front seat, back seat. I don’t have anywhere to go. They promised me that they were going to call me, but they haven’t done that," Allen said.
City lawyers called the seven-story building imminently dangerous and said it’s in horrendous condition. In court, a lawyer told the judge the owners of Lindley Towers failed to maintain the building and led the facade to collapse.
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"Eight days ago my whole life was uprooted. Me and my children. It’s been very traumatic for us. We’ve been hopping from place to place. We’ve been at four different places in the past week," said tenant Rosa Abraham.
Tenants are being offered 28 days at a hotel in Bensalem with transportation provided to and from Lindley Towers. Tenants will also receive three payments, which are first and last month’s rent and the security deposit.
"We’ve been going through this for a whole week, we’re tired. Of course, you want the money, but at least get the money that you’re going to be able to live, because the money he’s offering you’re not even going to be able to get a place to live with that," Abraham said.
An inspector who testified in court said bricks are still falling from the apartment building. A judge ordered a sidewalk shelter be built by Friday afternoon.
"I am going to accept the offer because I have no other choice. I can walk away and have nothing," said Allen.
Lindley Towers has been cited for numerous violations in the past. Lt. Chris Abate of the Philadelphia Fire Department was also called as a witness and said there are fire hazards in the building that could potentially lead to death in the event of a fire.
Philip Pulley, an owner of Lindley Towers, and a lawyer attended the hearing today but would not provide comment about the judge’s decision.