By Amanda Renner
The Lincoln Place Tenants Association held a fundraiser, June 21, in celebration of its recent legal victories.
Sheila Bernard, president of the Association, was there to answer questions, update guests on the case and inform them about the future of Lincoln Place.
Originally there were 795 units in Lincoln Place, however 100 were illegally demolished. Of the units left only 11 are occupied. Meaning that while the nation is in the middle of a huge housing crisis and locally the city is trying to fix the problem of citizens who have had to resort to living in RVs, there are more than 700 perfectly livable low cost units, empty because of our friends at the Apartment Investment Management Company.
Bernard said there are three categories of tenants. Hold-out tenants are those 11 that stayed and fought for their right to live there; Locked-out tenants, who had eviction cases filed against them; and Chased-out tenants, who signed agreements to leave.
The evictions have been proven illegal and now on behalf of the tenants there is a lawsuit pending, Bernard v. AIMCO, which is seeking restitution and damages against the company in hopes of being able to return to Lincoln Place.
“The place is engineered to bring people together,” Bernard said.
She said that the 141 households and 191 tenants in the suit are from all walks of life, from families, to business men, to elders, there is a broad spectrum of people fighting to get their homes back.
“One hold up is that although the court of appeals has declared these evictions illegal,” Bernard said. “Nobody knows how to get the tenants back in, because the tenants don’t ever fight it this far.”
They are hoping to be in a courtroom by the end of 2008. Bernard said they are not going into this wanting everything. They are looking for a reasonable settlement where both parties come out all right.
The story of Lincoln Place is not a new one. The Beachhead has covered stories on the housing development since 1972.