About this campaign:
For decades, Southern Towers has been an affordable place to live in Alexandria, Virginia, particularly for immigrants and low-wage workers. Nearly two-thirds of Southern Towers residents are Black, and over 60% of residents are foreign-born. More than three-quarters of immigrants are from Africa, particularly Sub-Saharan Africa. Today, these residents are fighting to stay in their homes in the midst of a global pandemic and rapidly gentrifying region, because of their new landlord, the CIM Group.
CIM is a Los Angeles-based private real estate company that purchased Southern Towers in 2020 for $506 million, with financial support from Freddie Mac and investment from public pension funds. As the largest multifamily transaction of 2020 and one of the biggest in Alexandria's history, CIM has also been one of the most aggressive landlords seeking to evict its residents. CIM has led 27% of all eviction proceedings in Alexandria, obtaining almost half a million dollars in legal judgments against families unable to pay rent.
Many of the Southern Towers residents are facing unemployment and struggling to keep up with their rent during the pandemic. They have organized hundreds of their fellow tenants for rallies and protests asking management to meet and discuss the issues at the property. But CIM has refused to meet and negotiate with the tenants or listen to their concerns. Now, they are banding together to form a tenants union and are raising their voices even louder through the #ACT4SouthernTowers campaign.
Interested in learning more about the campaign?
phone: (202) 455-8848
“In this country, you can drive change if you have the support of a group or your community. If I win for myself, I win for the whole neighborhood.” — Ismael Mohammed, Southern Towers resident, and campaign organizer
Key Campaign Demands:
Tell CIM to immediately meet with the Southern Towers tenant union and discuss their key demands.
Call out the public pension funds backing CIM like the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (see our report for more funds).
Contact Virginia state and local officials to help strengthen protections for tenants.
Call on Congress to investigate Freddie Mac, so taxpayers are not subsidizing the eviction and displacement of families.
READ: "Invested in Evictions"
Read our new report that reveals the CIM Group is the biggest single-source of eviction filings in the City of Alexandria, and how their eviction practices are displacing Southern Tower residents and gentrifying the wider community in Alexandria, Virginia.
Press Release: CIM Group Most Aggressive in Alexandria Eviction Proceedings Amid Pandemic
Subvert · EP 4: Southern Towers tenants stand up: the #ACT4SouthernTowers campaign
How to support the #ACT4SouthernTowers campaign!
Use our #ACT4SouthernTowers digital toolkit to spread the word on social media!
Follow us on social media for updates:
Find resources in the DMV area
Text the word FOOD (or COMIDA) to 877-877 to find the nearest emergency food distribution sites.
If you have more resources you’d like us to add, please email us or DM us on social media.
“Winning to me means we are safe, and our concerns are heard and validated. It also means that we are treated fairly and don’t have to worry about what will happen to our homes.”
— Betelihem Kebede, Southern Towers resident and campaign leader