By Jim Melwert
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A group of homeless mothers and their children slept on a sidewalk in front of a Philadelphia housing office as a form of protest on Tuesday night.
A little boy’s shaved head peeked out from one the blankets as he tosses and turns. In all, about 12 people slept on the sidewalk at 15th and Cherry Streets, just a couple of feet from some dumpsters.
Keyanna DelValle slept on the cement and says shelters tell her they have space but that she needs to go though the office of supportive housing. But she says, day after day, visits here, prove futile:
“And at 5 o’clock they tell you, ‘you gotta go’, and they expect everyone to just disappear. They expect their problems to just go away — tonight we took a stand,” DelValle said. “We don’t have anywhere to go, and we’re going to sleep out here to show you guys – to prove to you guys – with our kids that we have nowhere to go.”
DelValle says her five-year-old daughter stayed with her aunt last night, she says she’s been trying for a place since May, and has been bouncing from friend’s house to friend’s house. She adds she isn’t asking for a handout, she just needs a temporary place until she can find a job.
Ceasar Chavez, with Poor People’s Economic Rights Campaign, says procedure is trumping common sense.
“So pretty much it’s a bunch of red tape that is not benefiting any of these women,” Chavez says the youngest child here is just about eight-months old. “It’s just really, really hard to think about little children having to sleep on the streets when there is space for them.”
No response yet from the city.