Residents of Herman Street Apartments hold protest over closing - WSMV News 4

Residents of Herman Street Apartments hold protest over closing

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People in a downtown neighborhood held a protest Wednesday on the last day of their 30-day notice. Meharry Medical College is closing the Herman Street Apartments.

"Housing is a human right!" shouted a crowd of protestors. "We won't go without a fight!"

"I'm not asking for anything but some basic respect," said resident Hope Bivens. "I'm a 56-year-old woman. I've worked. I've paid taxes. They're going to make me homeless. That's not right. I didn't make myself homeless."

According to the Meharry Housing Corporation, the apartments are being closed due to uncontrollable increases in property damage and crime. Herman Street has been the site of four shootings in the past year alone.

"I'm a type one diabetic, and I'm on an insulin pump," said resident Morgan Freeman. "When they cut off the lights, they didn't give any notice. I had to find some place to store my insulin. I have a 9-month-old."

Nashville Electric Service officials said the meters have been repeatedly damaged and would be dangerous to re-energize without the property making repairs.

Pastor Gwen Brown-Felder of Ernest Newman United Methodist Church said she helped negotiate with property owners for the residents to get $500 to cover storage and moving expenses. She said a moving truck was provided and storage rates would be lowered for the residents.

"The negotiation is now disturbed by a few, and I thought it was equitable as well as a good arrangement," said Brown-Felder.

"$500 is basically a slap in the face to these people," said Justin Jones of the Herman Street Residents Association. "That'll pay for their storage unit. It'll pay for them to leave. Our question is, where are they going to go after two days? We're asking they be afforded a hearing to determine their fate while they're being forced out like cattle."

"Corporations aren't people," said Bivens. "People are people. You do dogs better than they've treated us. How am I supposed to get moved if I don't have money?"

Meharry Housing Corporation said the property is now available for sale.

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