On March 8th Prospect residents were served a notice to vacate by the Johnstown Housing authority due to what they say are “structural issues.”
They did not provide specific information about what those issues are. Residents now have three days left to vacate but there is still a lot of confusion in the community.
State Rep. Frank Burns even sent out a news release stating that he has filed a targeted right-to-know request to find out if this mass exodus is justified.
“Only when the true scope of the problem is revealed to the public can taxpayers and tenants judge whether the sudden emptying out of Prospect was justified.”
“Nothing should be swept under the carpet and if it has been, we need to lift that carpet up, Even if there is some sort of plan afoot to demolish Prospect and build new public housing on that site, the public needs to know that, too.”
But plans of demolition have not been announced according to the Johnstown Planning Commission with whom we spoke with earlier at their regularly scheduled meeting.
While all of this confusion is going on, residents are still being made to pack up and leave on Easter weekend.
“Most of the residents have to have their keys turned in by Friday and the end of the day. Since they’re off they have to drop them in the mailbox. I wasn’t supposed to move until Friday but since housing is off I had to adjust my schedule to make amends for them. “
“I’m kind of angry because they moved people into here and let them move into housing like yeah it’s fine, but it’s unsafe? Then they gave us thirty days to leave which is kind of unfair and it’s Easter, You’re supposed to be with your family having fun but instead we’re moving out and we have to find where we’re going to stay.”
Residents say the last thirty days have been taxing on all of the Prospect community but especially the children.
“Waking up, coming outside and seeing the moving trucks everyday is very depressing. I’m used to seeing everybody playing outside. I’m used to my son’s friends coming over, spending all day horsing around. One by one all his friends are going. His last remaining friend is moving today. We’re supposed to give back our keys tomorrow. My heart is in my stomach.”
“Emotions are high and they’re high stake. I don’t speak for myself but I can probably speak for everybody up here. Most are happy to get out. Others who’ve been here for years like my family, emotions are high. We don’t want to go. We don’t want to be forced somewhere that we don’t feel welcome. It’s rough, especially coming up on a holiday weekend where most of us don’t get to spend time with our families.”