Last month, Mr. Wallace Herrington, an MCM tenant with serious mobility issues, moved from the fourth to the second floor of his building – a huge win for Mr. Herrington who has been asking for months to be moved to a lower floor. Mr. Herrington’s move came on the heels of direct action by renters across Philadelphia who demanded that MCM accommodate the needs of tenants with disabilities and accessibility concerns.
Mr. Herrington has lived on the fourth floor of 5220 Wayne Avenue since December 2020. This building is one of several multi-story properties owned by MCM with broken or non-functioning elevators. Mr. Herrington has multiple underlying health conditions that limit his mobility and make climbing stairs dangerous to his health. As Mr. Herrington’s mobility deteriorated, he made repeated monthly requests to MCM that he be re-located to a lower floor. Unable to manage the stairs, Mr. Herrington struggled to meet basic needs like getting groceries or doing his wash, even reaching the point where just leaving home had become a challenge.
When members of Renters United Philadelphia (RUP) learned of Mr. Herrington’s situation, they came together and took action. Mr. Herrington’s situation resonated with other tenants who struggle with stairs due to issues like physical disabilities, age, or caring for young children. Members of RUP canvassed their neighbors to discuss concerns with the elevators. Then they organized a “phone zap” where over a dozen tenants called the landlords to demand that Mr. Herrington be relocated and MCM fix the elevators in all their buildings. As a member of RUP, Mr. Herrington also used the resources available to him – free legal representation – to send MCM a demand letter and then negotiate a written agreement.
As a result of renters organizing and taking direct action together, MCM moved Mr. Herrington to an available second floor unit of his building with no rent increase or additional fees, and also agreed to move Mr. Herrington to a first floor unit as soon as one becomes available. We are proud of this victory and relieved that Mr. Herrington will no longer have to risk his health to access his home!
But there’s still more work to be done! We learned through taking action that Mr. Herrington is not alone in his struggles, and MCM must fix the elevators in order to ensure true accessibility for all. We invite you to join us in this work and support our demands for accessible housing for all! To get involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org and sign up as a member today by clicking here.