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Unicorn Riot
Last night a new encampment for unhoused people was started outside Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) HQ in North Philly. Since early this AM, PHA has had work crews out erecting heavy duty fencing as private PHA police officers stand guard.
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Unicorn Riot Jun 30
Replying to @UR_Ninja
The only police presence we’ve seen here is maybe a dozen police officers. While their uniforms seem deliberately crafted to mimic official Philly PD uniforms, PHA PD is in fact a private police department with significant differences in jurisdiction and authority.
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Unicorn Riot Jun 30
Replying to @UR_Ninja
This laminated eviction letter from PHA was recently delivered to unhoused residents of the new encampment. PHA has drawn criticism for leaving thousands of PHA-owned homes vacant, instead of using them to house the homeless.
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Unicorn Riot Jun 30
Replying to @UR_Ninja
A camp resident gave us a quick rundown on the current situation with the new encampment by PHA HQ and recent interactions with PHA private police:
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Unicorn Riot Jun 30
Replying to @UR_Ninja
Situation semi calm as some contractor work crews take breaks while others continue to put in heavy fencing in one grass lot by PHA HQ parking lot. This officer from housing authority’s private police force is currently having a smoke
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Unicorn Riot Jun 30
Replying to @UR_Ninja
Ongoing standoff here at empty grass lot outside PHA HQ in North Philadelphia. Residents of new unhoused tent encampment say they won’t comply with housing authority demands to vacate the empty property.
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Unicorn Riot Jun 30
Replying to @UR_Ninja
PHA police playing a dramatized game of footsie with some people who keep removing fencing poles
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Unicorn Riot Jun 30
Replying to @UR_Ninja
More housing authority police arriving and tension w camp residents growing as PHA cops and contractors seem eager to put fencing poles into spots occupied by camp residents and supporters. Still no actual Philly PD officers here that we’ve seen.
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Unicorn Riot Jun 30
Replying to @PhilaHsgAuthPHA
More PHA police and contractors still arriving. seems quite intent on fencing off the vacant lots by their HQ ASAP after some unhoused Philadelphians set up camp here yesterday. More supporters of the camp are arriving as well
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Unicorn Riot Jun 30
Replying to @UR_Ninja
PHA contractors were seen loading some of the fencing poles into this van before driving off - unclear if some work is being paused/delayed or just being done around the corner where camp residents/supporters aren’t currently gathered.
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Unicorn Riot Jun 30
Replying to @UR_Ninja
PHA workers continue to install new heavy-duty poles for new security fence as PHA police (and angry residents of the new tent camp) watch closely
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Unicorn Riot Jun 30
Replying to @PhilaHsgAuthPHA
Hard to estimate the considerable expense is going to in order to try to fence off the area of the new unhoused tent encampment. Dozens of vehicles and workers/contractors active here this morning.
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Unicorn Riot Jun 30
Replying to @UR_Ninja
PHA workers operating power tools quite close to encampment supporters who are sitting on the pre-existing wooden fence in this empty grass lot by PHA HQ
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Unicorn Riot Jun 30
Replying to @UR_Ninja
At least 6 PHA police cruisers just on this corner of the newly occupied lot. (2 more out of frame just to the right here)
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Unicorn Riot Jun 30
Replying to @UR_Ninja
This empty PHA-owned grass lot has also served as a dog park for residents of nearby homes. Prseumably, once PHA’s new anti-homeless security fence is up, nobody will be able to use this land at all.
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Unicorn Riot Jun 30
Replying to @UR_Ninja
More moment of near-confrontation between PHA and new camp residents and their supporters. Most backed off after this moment and agreed to let PHA workers work after they assured camp residents they could still access the grass area
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Unicorn Riot Jun 30
Replying to @PhilaHsgAuthPHA
Supporters of the new houseless encampment by HQ in North Philly brought a sound system, the situation here is now turning partially into a protest rally visible from passing traffic on Ridge Ave.
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Unicorn Riot Jun 30
Replying to @UR_Ninja
Things are still semi-calm yet agitated here by PHA HQ. People are now generally letting workers put up fencing poles after the work crew lead promised people they wouldn’t be locked out of the lot. Both camp residents/supporters and workers have accused each other of harassment.
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Unicorn Riot Jun 30
Replying to @UR_Ninja
PHA may be declining to take more action against people gathered on this empty lot today since there were no signs posted in the area. We haven’t heard anyone get verbally trespassed here either. CDC coronavirus guidelines would also seem to recommend against evicting this camp.
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Unicorn Riot Jun 30
Replying to @UR_Ninja
Still seems like some goodwill is being built between the worker crew’s lead/foreman and some of the unhoused camp residents - unclear if this is happening in good faith or an attempt to buy time and pacify resistance to PHA security efforts.
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Unicorn Riot Jun 30
Replying to @UR_Ninja
When we arrived a few hours ago, PHA cops and work crews seemed evenly matched with the number of camp residents present, w a few dozen people each. With more people continuing to arrive in support it seems like upwards of 50-60 people are here on behalf of the encampment now.
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Unicorn Riot Jun 30
Replying to @UR_Ninja
Whoops, looks like we broke the thread. Rest of it picks up here:
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