Protesters interrupt council to demand more Philly affordable housing

Quinones Sanchez: 'We should not pit one group of Philadelphians against another.'

Pat Loeb
June 07, 2018 - 7:17 pm
Protesters disrupt Philadelphia City Council with a "die-in" for more low-income housing.

Pat Loeb/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Protesters disrupted Philadelphia City Council on Thursday with a "die-in" for more low-income housing. The action came one day after a council committee approved a new affordable housing program, funded with a construction tax. 

It took a good half-hour to remove protestors who walked onto the council floor in the middle of the weekly session and lay down, demanding that more of the just-passed construction tax be used for those with very low incomes. 

But councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez — who struggled to get the package through committee over the objections of developers, labor and administration officials — said the bill represents a major step toward more equitable housing.

"They have a right to ask for more of a percentage of the money, and I will debate that once we have the money, but ultimately we're independently elected to make decisions for the entire city," Quinones Sanchez said. "So while I appreciate their activism, we should not pit one group of Philadelphians against another group of Philadelphians."

After council resumed business, it passed an expansion of the homestead exemption to lower taxes on owner-occupied homes and an increase in the transfer tax to pay for it.