Landlord says 60 people out of their homes due to his dispute with Lancaster City
LANCASTER, Pa. —People are out of their homes in Lancaster, and city officials said the mayor’s office is getting death threats. According to officials, it’s all related to the same housing issue that is believed to be the motive for an arson at City Hall.
The tenants all lived in properties owned by Dwain London Sr. He’s the father of one of the men charged with setting fire to the doors of City Hall just hours after a heated City Council meeting about those homes.
City officials have been looking into more than a dozen properties owned by London ever since a man was found dead after a fire in one of them. City inspectors issued 175 violations.
“People were living in one room that they were being charged $500 to live in,” said Matt Johnson, the mayor’s chief of staff. “Sometimes no access to bathrooms. We were finding jars of urine and hotplates that were huge fire hazards.”
Marie Chambers lived in one of the rooms for more than a year with her three children.
“We didn’t have smoke detectors,” Chambers said. “I was living with black mold in my room.”
London said he wasn’t aware of the problem. He said he was just trying to help families who otherwise couldn’t afford a home of their own.
“They’re living on an average of $700 a month income,” London said. “Where are they going to live?”
London also said he doesn’t know anything about the city staff getting death threats.
City officials said they’re working quickly to find safe and affordable homes for the people who have been displaced. Officials said there are even some city programs that will help pay for part of their rent.