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Akron Tenant Groups Unionize For Safe Housing Demands

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Residents at Wilbeth-Arlington Homes have unionized to demand city officials address issues with black mold among other unsafe living conditions

Two East Akron tenant groups have unionized and are calling on city officials to provide safe housing. Residents at Wilbeth-Arlington homes and Ericsson Apartments have voiced concerns of black mold, rodents and broken doors to Community Legal Aid, a free legal service to people dealing with poverty.

John Petit, a managing attorney with the nonprofit, says that along with unsafe living conditions, tenants can’t show proof of paid rent.

John Petit, Managing Attorney at community Legal Aid
A photo of John Petit.

“We’ve seen substantial numbers of evictions that were filed and we’re worried because many of the tenants have expressed that when they go to pay their rent they’re not being given a receipt for their rent and most of them do pay with a money order or check or something but some of them don’t and they they need a receipt to prove they’ve paid their rent.”

Petit says that most tenants are Black single mothers, and Community Legal Aid has formed a coalition with Freedom BLOC, a nonprofit that empowers the Black community.

The coalition wants property managers to recognize the union and address their concerns.