Support Arvilla Residents!

$17,163 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 179 people in 8 months
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Created December 21, 2018

Hello from West Philadelphia, where 18 residents of the Arvilla building (4500 block of Osage) are being forced out of their homes at only a few weeks' notice.

One of the residents of the Arvilla is an elder, who have been in the building for 50 years -- and another is a single mother of three who was invited in by the owners just ~7 months ago, only to be told to leave right in the middle of winter. 

Many of the residents are in a vulnerable position -- and as a result they have been ignored, forced to endure poor conditions, and eventually pushed out. 

While neighbors are organizing  to  keep the building affordable and open to tenants, the owner has yet to halt the evictions.

To keep current residents safe and supported (especially during the holiday season),  we are looking for at least $1000 per head to reimburse any expenses they'll have, and to ensure a cushion during this time.

Please contribute as you are able, and share this campaign widely!

More info: www.ArvillaOrganizing.org 


We set a modest target of $20k, but it would be great to triple that or more.

Funds will be channeled through the Calvary Center for Culture & Community, a trusted local organization that will help us account for it. Since they're a 501c3, your contribution is tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

The fundraising committee (Alex Gunnison, Aya Kaufmann, Tammer Ibrahim, Mary McGettigan, Timothy Crawford & JJ Tiziou) will provide oversight for equitable distribution to Arvilla residents. 

Because cash gifts can mess up benefits & subsidies, we’ll use the $$ to help neighbors cover costs of daily life & moving / transition costs & provide gift cards. 

Our goal is for at least 75% of the money raised to be distributed evenly per person in a need-blind no-conditions manner. The remaining 25% will allow flexibility for dealing with specific resident needs as they come up. 

We will have touch-points at the end of January & end of February to distribute resources, and may continue the campaign beyond that depending on how the coming months shape up.

Thank you for being generous in your support of our neighbors!


Inquirer: The Penn-Alexander Effect: Is there any room for low-income residents in University City? 
NBC10: Tenants of University City Apartment say they were forced out of their homes 
WestPhillyLocal: Neighbors Protest Arvilla sale, owners say deal nearly final 
GeekGirlWisdom: Support Arvilla Residents in W. Philly from Getting Pushed Out 

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Allison L. Cyrus (1937-2019)
+ next steps after the Arvilla

Dear neighbor friends,

If you’ve passed by the Arvilla building recently, you may have noticed a small memorial in the corner by the door marking the closing of the life of Mr Cyrus (aka Mr Al, Cy, Tuck), our dear neighbor who’d called the Arvilla home for the last 50 years. A few snapshots are attached.

He’d broken his hip during his move out of the Arvilla and had been making progress in rehab, but took a sudden turn for the worse on the weekend of the 29th, and he passed peacefully on Tuesday night last week. Some family members were able to make it out from Pittsburgh in time to be with him and he had someone by his side through the very end.

On one hand, he’d lived a long and good life and I’m grateful for the gift of him in our world – on the other hand, it grieves me that his last days were filled with stress around the short notice eviction from his longtime home, and that he then had to endure rehab after the crummy movers that were part of Mission First’s “comprehensive relocation assistance” piled his belonging all over the new apartment without putting furniture in place or leaving adequate walking paths, resulting in a tripping hazard for anyone, let alone an 81yr old elder.

But it is done: the building is sold and Cy’s time on earth has reached it’s end – may he live on in our hearts and memories. He wouldn’t have wanted us to be angry, but would have wanted us to continue to organize to build a more just world.

Messages of support for his family can be sent care of his sister:

Gabrielle Harrison
8601 Bricelyn St
Apt 302
Pittsburgh, PA 15221

We’ll take a moment to hold space to honor his passing at our next neighborly dinner this coming Monday the 15th.

You’d be most welcome to join 7-9pm at 4529 Osage, and are welcome to bring something to share or just show up as you are.
( Please RSVP via email to: jj@jjtiziou.net, chloe.wang18@gmail.com, breslowrocky@gmail.com )

Our organizing efforts have lost a bit of momentum somewhat as I had to step back to tend to personal/family matters (and I’ve learned some good lessons about the difference between organizing & mobilizing...) – and we’ll just have to take it a step at a time from here, but I hope that what we’ve seen happen at the Arvilla this past year will inspire us all to continue working in our communities as best we can to build more resilient communities and a city politics that works for all of its citizens.

With an eye to the May 21st primary elections and the City Council races, you might be interested in the People's Platform for a Just Philadelphia, and I invite you to reach out to City Council candidates and talk to them about what happened at the Arvilla – we can’t just say “we need more affordable housing” if "affordable housing” ends up being disposable like the Arvilla was to Mission First.

Thank you,
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Here's a little note of thanks from Craig in the attached video...

I've had the blessing of being on the receiving end of a lot of gratitude from friends in the Arvilla who are grateful for all of the neighborhood support that was extended to them... but the thanks is really due to all of you who've chipped in– so thank you all.

Craig is one of three residents who were at our meeting last night and it's great to see these connections continue beyond the evictions.
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For those of you not on the email list, a quick last minute note that we're hosting a meeting tonight at the Calvary Center for a community conversation about housing justice in the wake of the Arvilla evictions.

Please share w/ anyone in the neighborhood who'd be interested in joining us...

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Greetings all,

For those of you in W. Philly, we just had our second dinner for the group that is focusing on individual neighbor support and resource sharing in our area and for the neighbors who've been displaced from the Arvilla.

This is all about long-term relationship building and exchange, and you'd be welcome to join if you're in the area.

To get involved, drop a line to Chloe & Rocky who are helping co-facilitate this group:
Chloe Wang <chloe.wang18@gmail.com>
Rocky Breslow <breslowrocky@gmail.com>,

You can also:

Subscribe to this new listserv to receive updates about the neighbor support group:


Fill out this Google form to share what you'd be willing to offer, and we'll work on turning the responses into a directory zine! There is much to offer, from physical items to skills to social time:


Join us at our next dinner meeting next Monday, March 18, 7 PM at 4529 Osage. (RSVP to Chloe & Rocky)

For those of you more interested in larger issues of policy and affordable housing in the area and city, save the date for a meeting on March 7th at Calvary, 7-9pm, and please email arvillaorganizing@gmail.com if you'd like to help push that agenda forward!
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$17,163 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 179 people in 8 months
No Longer Accepting Donations
 Share on Facebook
Created December 21, 2018
Funds raised will benefit:
Calvary Center for Culture and Community
Certified Charity
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Philadelphia, PA
EIN: 233038500
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