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Thursday, September 8, 2016

In my profile of Eileen Walbank,

she is quoted as saying, "I had a house. My parents bought it in 1937. It’s a beautiful house. Two stories, gas heat, everything you would ever want. I owned the house. It’s still there at 1629 Lewis Street. Two people, they call them squatters, came and pushed me out of my house."

A quick check online reveals that the house is still owned by Eileen Chadwick (her married name) and June Walbank, Eileen's sister.

Why on earth is Eileen sleeping on the street tonight if she has a house?!

Eileen said she had gone to the police and sheriff, but no one had helped her. Do you have any suggestions on what should be done?

Eileen Chadwick's house

Eileen Chadwick's house 2


I just sent the below to the Homeless Advocacy Project of Philadelphia. Hopefully, this will get Eileen the help she needs.

I'm a freelance journalist who writes about social issues. Recently, I interviewed an elderly homeless woman, Eileen Chadwick, who said she had been kicked out of her house by squatters.

I checked online and found out that Eileen Chadwick and her sister, June Walbank, are still the owners of the house at 1629 Lewis Street. Eileen has been homeless for nine months, and June is in an institution somewhere.

72-year-old Eileen Chadwick should be sleeping inside her own house tonight and not on a sidewalk. Can you help her?

9:42AM, 9/9/16 update: Late last night, I wrote to Frank Wilson of the Inquirer. He just replied:

Hi Linh,

Just heard from Bill Marimow [Editor-in-Chief of the Philadelphia Inquirer]. He's going to have some key staffers look into it. As he said, if it pans out, it could prove to be quite a saga.



3:49PM, 9/9/16 update: I talked to Frank Wilson in person today. I'm confident the Philadelphia Inquirer will get to the bottom of this. If Eileen still owns the house, she'll be back in it.

I also talked to another man who said he's willing to send two of his boys over to "take care" of the squatters. I don't think it will come to that.



grimychaz said...

Legal help and fees to local bureaucracy...

Linh Dinh said...

Hi grimychaz,

Thanks for the link. The laws seem very screwed up here. I can see how squatters will target more vulnerable people, like an older lady who's not entirely clear-headed.


grimychaz said...

Yeah exactly. Our society isn't set up to actually help the physically and mentally disabled - just exploit them. I'd be willing to bet the squatters are able-bodied and have their wits about them...other than the likely drug habit...

the DBQer said...

One more small significant step towards justice in a fallen world. Thanks for being in the highways and byways of America. Eileen hopefully is on her way home.

LJansen said...

Thanks for taking up this case, Linh. Not sure what the hell is going on to have this happen, but you're shining the light on it will hopefully get the cockroaches out of there.


About Me

Born in Vietnam in 1963, I came to the US in 1975, and have also lived in Italy, England and Germany. I'm the author of a non-fiction book, Postcards from the End of America (2017), two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), six of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007), Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009) and A Mere Rica (2017), and a novel, Love Like Hate (2010). I've been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories From Around the World, etc. I'm also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013). My writing has been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and I've been invited to read in London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Leipzig, Halle, Reykjavik, Toronto, Singapore and all over the US. I've also published widely in Vietnamese.