Wince of the Week August 19 – 26, 2012
The EHRP Team winced hard when we read this from Dan Wang for the Huffington Post: New Jersey Town Rips Up Working-Class Neighborhood For Private Developers , :
Santos Cruz still remembers the first time he heard the demolition crews. “They came without any warning at 6 a.m. outside my home,” he said in a recent interview with The Huffington Post. “The ground started shaking and there was a tremendous amount of noise. They knocked down all the houses they owned: It was like being in a war zone for a whole month.” Cruz, 49, has lived in Mount Holly Gardens, N.J., for 23 years. Now, the local government wants him out.
The clash between the township of Mount Holly and the working-class, mostly minority residents of this neighborhood of rowhouses has dragged on for 10 years. The township wants to give the land to a private developer. The residents want to remain in the homes they’ve owned for decades. And the prospect of an ending to the dispute has just gone a little further out of sight. In June, the township filed a Supreme Court petition to request a hearing on the decade-long redevelopment case. At stake are not only the legal implications of the Fair Housing Act, but also the fate of a township strapped for cash, residents uncertain about where they’ll live and a neighborhood that has literally been torn apart by the local government.
Cruz still can’t shake the shock of that first day of demolition. “My dog was hiding under the bed whole time because the house was shaking,” he says. “A bulldozer hit my house when it was demolishing a neighboring one. The blow cracked the roof and detached the stairs from the walls. I had to stay on the roof for over four days for repairs because it was winter, and leaking.”
- An excerpt from a piece by Dan Wang for the Huffington Post: New Jersey Town Rips Up Working-Class Neighborhood For Private Developers