PLEASANTVILLE – For decades, the Pleasant Village apartments have served as a home for senior residents in Pleasantville. Now, many of them fear they will be evicted and displaced because of new ownership.
On Saturday, some residents along with representatives in the community stood outside the office chanting ‘SAVE OUR SENIORS!’ and ‘SENIORS OVER PROFIT’.
In 2021, the property was sold to a management company called Gatesoco.
President of the Pleasantville Historical Society and head of the Pleasantville Civic League Mary Fontenot says they’ve tried to meet with the new owners to discuss the plans for the property.
“From all accounts, it was ‘It’s no longer a senior complex. We are raising the rent, we’re getting rid of the seniors.’ That was the message,” she said.
It’s a big concern for Latonya White and Ethel Robinson who have lived at the complex for many years and are on a fixed income.
“It’s just fear. It’s just fear,” White said. “It’s just fear because we don’t know where we are going next.”
Right now, they each pay $500 every month for rent, and they’ve received letters that the price will increase to more than $900 by January 2023.
“The rent is already high enough on a fixed income,” Robinson added. “We can’t pay that high rent.”
Residents are also concerned about evictions and displacement, but Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee says it won’t happen on her watch.
She’s already spoken to the Housing and Urban Development Department about the issue.
“You have no right to destroy people’s investment. These are their homes and they have raised their children,” Jackson Lee said.
Neighbors hate to see what’s happening at the apartment complex. They say it’s been apart of the community for as long as they can remember.
“I couldn’t believe it because I remember when they were first built, and people were moving in here,” Pamela Lister said.
Local and state leaders say they will continue to fight for the residents.
“The gentrification of any senior complex is wrong, but we are fighting to stop the gentrification of this historic senior community,” Mary Fontenot said.