"Rally Cap" is a new recurring feature at Progress Illinois in
which we recap -- with photography or video -- progressive-oriented
protests and political rallies held around the state.
For almost a year, Erica Bledsoe has been fighting to keep ...
"Rally Cap" is a new recurring feature at Progress Illinois in which we recap -- with photography or video -- progressive-oriented protests and political rallies held around the state.
For almost a year, Erica Bledsoe has been fighting to keep control of a subsidized Rogers Park apartment that belonged to her late mother, Rosetta Bledsoe, the legal guardian to three young grandchildren (ages 14, 11, and 9). Following Rosetta's death last September, Northpoint, the company that leases the residence, ordered Erica and her three nieces and nephews to vacate the premises (and risk homelessness). As justification, they cited the fact that her name did not appear on the lease.
After One Story Up blogger Megan Cottrell began reporting on their plight this summer, the Bledsoes witnessed an outpouring of community support, including the formation of a community group that gathered over 600 signatures of support for the family. They also received assistance from attorneys with the Legal Aid Foundation, who have argued that Erica's three nieces and nephews -- whose names do appear on the lease -- have the legal right to stay in the apartment and have Erica's name added to the document.
Today, supporters delivered a stack of signed postcards to HUD headquarters in downtown Chicago and also announced news that the Department of Housing and Urban Development is intervening in hopes of settling the case on the family's behalf in the coming days. This outcome, while still tentative, is a testament to the real-world influence of good reporting, publicly-subsidized legal aid, and smart organizing.
Quote of the day:
"I never thought so many people cared. But so many people showed support. I want to say thank you to the people in my community -- and outside my community. ... We can stick together." - Erica Bledsoe
Erica Bledsoe discusses her relief that HUD has intervened:
Organizer Frank Edwards talks about the neighborhood effort to keep the Bledsoe family in their apartment:
Federal Plaza, Chicago
One Story Up: Federally-funded Company Evicting Orphans
One Story Up: Orphans Facing Homelessness, Community Trying To Intervene
Committee To Support The Bledsoe Family: Letter To Public Officials
Progress Illinois: Legal Aid Safety Net Stretched Thin