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News :: Organizing : Social Welfare
ACORN burns down casa del sol
by Casa Del Sol
03 Dec 2004
Housing Developers Burn Down Community Center
Bronx, NY December 2, 2004 - Thirty residents of Casa Del Sol, a
community center in the South Bronx, are homeless after a fire
partially destroyed their building and sent 16 firefighters to the
hospital. Residents blame ACORN, a development group, for allowing the
fire to burn five hours after police evicted the building's residents.
"The circumstances are incredibly suspicious," says former Casa Del
Sol resident Joleene Martin. "The fire happened under their watch. I
blame them for either negligence or malice. Either way, it's their
Police ejected residents on Tuesday, November 30, after a contentious
Buildings Department order. Police cleared residents in 10 minutes and
welded the doors of the building. Shortly thereafter, a fire started
on the third floor of the building. Residents were prepared to
challenge the order in court on January 7.
"We kept this building up for 20 years," says community center
volunteer and resident Jacques Aboaf, 24 "The police were in charge of
it for a couple hours and managed to burn it down."
The Casa Del Sol building was abandoned 20 years ago by its owner and
claimed by its residents. The city has tried to clear out the building
several times throughout the years, using helicopters and riot police.
Still, the building remained more or less continuously occupied and a
source of great frustration for the police.
Two years ago, a battle began between building residents and the
developers ACORN, which wanted to take over the property. ACORN also
wanted access to the adjacent Cherry Tree Garden, a space granted to
the Trust for Public land after Elliott Spitzer's 1999 landmark garden
"We're trying to impact this community in a positive way," says
former Casa resident Mark Shenson. "Acorn is just looking to profit
off of an already impoverished community."
Casa Del Sol's most recent projects included a silkscreen shop, a
community garden, an after school program, the Adverse Possession art
gallery, and weekly concerts. Casa Del Sol also hosted an annual
street fair and Halloween party, and houses the offices of the Cherry
Tree Association and the Mutual Aid Project, which produces the New
York City Free Events Calendar.
Residents of the building are staying for three days in a motel room
provided by the Red Cross. Residents will be homeless afterward.
None of the firefighters were seriously injured, and were quickly
released from the hospital.
This work is in the public domain
Re: ACORN burns down casa del sol
(No verified email address)
03 Dec 2004
Yet another disgusting act in the long string of ACORN's long string of disgusting acts. I guess they got bored with busting unions and moved on to landlordism and arson.