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Hotel Cadillac showdown is over


The vigil at the Hotel Cadillac is over. But housing activists and advocates for the homeless say they're going to keep raising the issue of affordable, low-barrier housing in Rochester.

At 9 46 p.m. yesterday, the a representative for the building's owner, DHD Ventures called Rochester police and requested officers clear out the main entrance of cots, bedding, trash, and other materials so the company could secure the doors, says a summary of the incident provided by the RPD.

Demonstrators  had been sitting vigil on the building since Friday and most eventually left after police instructed them to. But Sister Grace Miller and Sister Rita Lewis of the House of Mercy, who had been among the demonstrators but weren't on site when police arrived, crossed into a taped off area, says Pat Dupont, a Catholic Worker at St. Joe's House of Hospitality who wasn't present but had been informed of the incident.

Officers detained Miller, Lewis, and a third unnamed person "for attempting to interfere with the operation," according to the RPD summary. All three were released without any charges.

The Hotel Cadillac's owner has secured doors and windows on the building's first floor, and posted no trespassing signs. - PHOTO BY JEREMY MOULE
  • The Hotel Cadillac's owner has secured doors and windows on the building's first floor, and posted no trespassing signs.

The building has since been secured. The owner, DHD Ventures, had boards put over first-floor windows, locked up the front door with a cable and padlock, and put up some no trespassing, private property, and keep out signs on the building's exterior.

DHD initially told the hotel's residents that they had to leave by May 25, but advocates for the homeless, who were working to find the people new housing, got the developer to agree to extensions. Some of the residents lived in the hotel for years, and some had serious mental health challenges or substance abuse problems.

But the building owner stuck to last week's ultimatum. On June 8, two residents were locked out, which forced them into shelters, Dupont says. That's when activists decided to hold an around-the-clock occupation of the building's front entryway.

"This was an illegal eviction," Dupont says. "Nobody has been taken to court."

Now, with the Cadillac closed, the city needs to have a larger conversation about its housing. Activists have criticized the boom in high-end residential downtown, much of which gets incentives or other assistance from the City of Rochester. But the area has a serious need for truly affordable housing, which is going unmet, they say.

They've also called on state and local officials to establish a housing court in Rochester; pass so-called good cause  eviction laws, which would prevent landlords from arbitrarily evicting tenants; and rent stabilization laws for some Upstate cities, including Rochester. The idea generally is to prevent people from becoming homeless through evictions or because they were priced out of their current residence.

This story has been updated to include information about the incident  provided by the Rochester Police Department.