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Seniors Sue Presbyterian Homes Over Plan To Force Them Out

CHICAGO (CBS) -- More than 100 residents of three subsidized senior housing complexes owned by Evanston-based Presbyterian Homes have filed a lawsuit over the charity organization's plans to sell its Chicago properties.

Linda Armitage, 73, one of the residents of Crowder Place in Lakeview, said she's stunned and angry after she and her fellow tenants were told Presbyterian Homes is selling Crowder Place and two other apartment buildings, and residents will have to move. The non-profit has said charitable donations are no longer sufficient to cover the cost of subsidized housing and maintenance at its properties in Chicago.

Residents have said when they moved in, they were told they would have homes there the rest of their lives.

"We have been traumatized by the thought of being uprooted. It's too much to handle," Armitage said.


Marge Lilek, 82, has lived at Crowder Place for 13 years. She said, while she and her neighbors have been given until November 2016 to move, she hasn't been able to find other subsidized housing that's available before the deadline.

"I have nowhere else to go. I've applied for 15 different places. They have wait lists 3 to 5 years," Lilek said. "I'm ashamed of them, and they should be ashamed of themselves."

Their attorney, Matthew Piers, said Presbyterian Homes gave every resident a lease with no end date, and told them they had homes for the rest of their lives.

"A deal is a deal. A contract is a contract, and these contracts are lifetime contracts," Piers said. "These residents have the legal right to remain. This is not an option."

Ald. James Cappleman (46th) said he believes Presbyterian Homes can find a buyer who would be willing to continue operating the three Chicago buildings as subsidized homes for the existing tenants.

"It is not negotiable to have any resident have to leave. We cannot break up a family," he said.

Presbyterian Homes did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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