Health Care

Rally Against Negligent Providence Landlords Highlights Health Hazards, Calls for Tenant Protections

Members and allies of POWR (Providence Organization of Workers and Renters) protested against Providence Apartments LLC, accusing the landlord of negligence that has led to children suffering from lead poisoning and other health risks. The protest demanded rent freezes, rent stabilization, tenant protections, and better housing conditions.

May 2, 2023, 1:24 pm

By Steve Ahlquist

Two dozen members and allies of POWR (Providence Organization of Workers and Renters) rallied outside 117 Broadway in Providence on Monday to protest against landlords Kenia and Terryl Desuze owners of Providence Apartments LLC. The apartments at 117 Broadway are under construction and owned by Providence Apartments LLC, who the protesters say is a negligent landlord – and that their negligence has led to children suffering from lead poisoning and other health risks.

“For over a year now I have been dealing with this landlord who lead paint poisoned my child and refuses to take on any kind of acknowledgement for it,” said renter Tiara Graham. “He also glued shut cabinets, [behind which there was] mold and spoors, and also mushrooms growing out of my floor. I have lead paint falling from the ceilings, leaks coming from the bathroom, living room and the kitchen, and he refuses to fix anything. The windows do not fit. The doors do not close properly. And it’s annoying that I have to go in circles to get some help.”

As of publication Providence Apartments LLC has not responded to a request for comment.

The protest marched through the streets of Providence and arrived at 444 Westminster Street where Providence Code Enforcement has their offices. Olivia, who lead the protest, delivered the following speech and demands:

“We the working and renting people of Providence need to be organized. The landlords and employers of this city certainly are. Our city council has historically opposed rent control, and our new ‘Landlord-in-chief’ Mayor Brett Smiley has directly benefited from landlord PACs donating to his campaign because he opposes rent controls and tenant protections. This is why we formed POWR, the Providence Organization of Workers and Renters. POWR fights for the needs of all those who don’t have control over their housing or means of income. All those who must sell their labor power in order to survive to unelected bosses who own all the businesses so they can make a profit off the wealth we produce. All those who have to pay over half our monthly wages to landlords from the same class of people who own all the property! This scam, this system is what we call capitalism, landlordism, colonialism, and imperialism! It is a system that is rotten to its core and must be overthrown! If we build our power the masses of everyday people can seize control of our own destinies! This is what the spirit of May First is all about, revolt against inhumanity!

“To the City of Providence, Mayor Brett Smiley, and the City Council we are demanding:

  • An immediate rent freeze and reduction of rents to pre-pandemic levels.
  • A system of rent stabilization tying rents to the quality of rented housing.
  • An end to no-fault evictions and a right to legal counsel for tenants in court.
  • Prevent demolition and promote renovation of our public and private rental stock.
  • Public development of new community owned and resident controlled social housing.
  • Seize control of vacant and abandoned properties to house our unhoused populations.
  • Increased funding and staff capacity at Providence DIS to proactively address lead hazards.
  • Increased education around lead safety and tenants rights information for all Providence tenants.
  • Improved data tracking system for Code Enforcement and municipal rental registry for all landlords.
Tiara Graham
117 Broadway

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