two women post with CHPPD Day of Action photo frame

people looking at public health displays

boy coloring

There is no health equity without housing equity.

That was the main message at the APHA Community Health Planning and Policy Development Section's annual Day of Action at the APHA Annual Meeting.

The Monday event featured interactive and informative exhibits hosted by residents and successful housing and health programs throughout the West Philadelphia community. A series of speakers featured local activists working to combat the harms of gentrification and homelessness in West Philadelphia.

“Housing cannot just be left to the market,” said Tayyib Smith, co-founder of Little Giant Creative. “Housing is a human right.”

Rita Nelson, a West Philadelphia resident and retired postal union steward, recounted how she has watched as her neighborhood has changed due to a lack of care for local residents.

“I’m a lifelong resident, and I’ve seen the changes, especially over the past 20 years,” Nelson said. “And it’s a disgrace.”

The event supported specific recommendations to the Philadelphia Housing Action Plan and promoted a national social media campaign, #PhillyHousingForAll, which aims to keep local residents in their homes.

“We have to keep fighting — that’s all I have to say,” Nelson said.

Photos by Aaron Warnick, courtesy of The Nation's Health