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#JusticeForMichaelWhite Update

6 Aug

As supporters gathered for a rally for Michael White, a rumor spread that District Attorney Larry Krasner had dropped the first-degree murder charge against the Morgan State University student in the fatal stabbing of Sean Schellenger.

Michael White - Morgan State University

Fortunately, it was not fake news. At White’s court hearing, the DA’s office reduced the charge from first-degree murder to third-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter. The District Attorney said the video evidence did not support first-degree murder. Family and supporters say White stood his ground. It is a case of self-defense.

White’s attorney is Daniel Stevenson, Chief of the Homicide Unit of the Philadelphia Public Defender’s Office. He was interviewed on Wake Up With WURD.

The preliminary hearing was continued until October 30. Bail was set at $150,000. White will be under house arrest once bail is posted. Two advocacy groups – Philadelphia Community Bail Fund and Philadelphia Bail Fund – posted the $15,000 cash bail.

Philadelphia Bail Fund Tweet - 8.2.18

As of this writing, White is still locked up. White was released from the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility on Monday, August 6. He is home with his parents.

A community picnic and Open “Mike” Night for the young poet will be held on August 18. For more info and updates, join Michael White (Freedom) Facebook group.

The High Cost of ‘Affordable’ Housing

17 Jul

There is an affordable housing crisis across the country. The demand for affordable housing far exceeds the supply. In the nation’s poorest big city, the Philadelphia Housing Authority spends nearly $400,000 for each new “affordable” rental unit. With 42,886 people on its wait list, PHA would need $17,154,400,000 — more than four times the annual operating budget of the City of Philadelphia — to provide housing for those currently on its wait list. And by the way, PHA’s wait list is closed:

PHA closed its Public Housing Program wait lists on April 15, 2013. The wait list will reopen when PHA determines that the average wait time for housing has reached an acceptable level. The public will be notified through advertisement on this website.

Frontline and NPR recently investigated how billions are spent to house the poor but fewer housing units are being built.

In December 2016, PHA welcomed residents to 57 new apartments that cost the housing authority a whopping $21.9 million. The project was partly financed with Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC). Before the paint was barely dry the contractor, Domus Inc., filed a lawsuit alleging PHA “repeatedly changed the terms of the contract, refused to cooperate with the contractor and delayed payment.”

Domus v. PHA

If Domus wins its case, the cost for one unit of LIHTC-funded “affordable” housing could be more than $400,000. To put PHA’s construction costs in context, the median home value in Philadelphia is $142,000. The city’s median income is $41,233; 44 percent of households have an annual income of less than $35,000.

Domus and PHA will face off before Common Pleas Court Judge Patricia McInerney on July 18, 2017. Stay tuned.

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