Kensington settlements persist after Sena lawsuit and protest

Middle ground

Protesters who came out on Wednesday came out for different reasons, but eventually found common ground. As activists from ACT UP and Philadelphia Housing Action came to oppose the planned sweep, local residents urged homeless people to go to shelters and seek drug treatment.

“You cannot leave your house,” said Alfred Klosterman, a resident of the neighborhood. “You have to be careful where you step so you don’t step on human waste or needles. No one wants them to be jailed, but we cannot fix their problem.

But within hours, people from different groups recognized they shared common goals.

Chelsea Dalsey, 36, witnessed all the interaction. Dalsey was originally one of the organizers who came to protest against the encampment. Dalsey was on the streets of Kensington Avenue due to her own addiction before getting sober 10 years ago.

“People just started talking and comparing notes and it started to evolve,” she said. “They extended this olive branch and invited us to come back to protest unified against the city.”

Shannon Farrell is President of the Harrowgate Civic Association. She joined other residents who came to Kensington and Allegheny avenues in Philadelphia to counter protesters demanding that the city find housing or leave the camps alone on the morning of June 16, 2021 (Kimberly Paynter / WHYY)

Shannon Farrell, director of the Harrowgate Civic Association, said she always wanted everyone to be accommodated.

“We want them to have a place… we were just opposed to continuing to live like that with them on our streets, to live in camps, so that’s where it came together,” Farrell said. “We’ve been supporting housing, treatment and anything that could help people with drug addiction living on our street for four years, and I think this was the first time we could discuss it. “

Farrell, along with many other residents, objected to a supervised injection site in their neighborhood when it was initially proposed. She said she was disappointed that not much had changed in years and that she was disappointed with what she saw as the city’s inaction.

“We have waited and we still have about 700 people on our street,” she said. “So we’re very frustrated and that’s the goal. We’ve waited years to figure out what you’re going to do to make our community safe. “

Farrell is happy that everyone is getting along, but she is not satisfied.

“What I’m afraid of is what always happens,” she said. “Everyone came out and expressed their feelings, Stephanie Sena filed a complaint, then everyone is gone… and the only people left here in the neighborhood are the drug addicts, drug dealers, police and residents. . “

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