Kensington Welfare Rights Union

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The Kensington Welfare Rights Union (KRWU) is a progressive social justice, political action, and advocacy group of, by, and for the poor and homeless operating out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[1] The group was founded by six women, including Cheri Honkala, and formed in Philadelphia's Kensington neighborhood in April 1991.[2]

KWRU is a part of the national organization the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign, a coalition of grassroots organizations, community groups, and non-profit organizations committed to uniting the poor across color lines as the leadership base for a broad movement to abolish poverty.[1] KWRU is also a member of the steering committee of the A.N.S.W.E.R. coalition.[3]

KWRU was written about in the 1997 book Myth of the Welfare Queen by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Zucchino.[4]

Group activities[edit]

KWRU often used direct action tactics such as tent cities and housing takeover to provide housing and dramatize the plight of the homeless.[5] In 1994 KWRU organized the takeover of 12 vacant HUD owned homes in Philadelphia to try to call attention to HUD's failed housing policies.[6]


  1. ^ a b Bricker-Jenkins, Mary; Young, Carrie; Honkala, Cheri (2007). "Using economic human rights in the movement to end poverty: the Kensington Welfare Rights union and the Poor People's Economic Human Rights campaign". In Reichert, Elisabeth (ed.). Challenges in human rights: a social work perspective. New York: Columbia University Press. pp. 122–137. ISBN 9780231137201. OCLC 76864302.
  2. ^ Salvatierra, Alexia; Heltzel, Peter Goodwin (2014). Faith-rooted organizing: mobilizing the church in service to the world. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press. p. 59. ISBN 9780830836611. OCLC 861966476.
  3. ^ Bowers, John Waite; Ochs, Donovan J.; Jensen, Richard J.; Schulz, David P. (2010). The rhetoric of agitation and control (3rd ed.). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press. p. 154. ISBN 9781577666141. OCLC 406133470.
  4. ^ Lippmann, Laura (13 April 1997). "Welfare mythology: buried charlatan [review of Myth of the Welfare Queen by David Zucchino]". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  5. ^ Jha, Sandya Rani (2017). "The power of keeping it simple: humans deserve housing". Transforming communities: how people like you are healing their neighborhoods. Saint Louis, Missouri: Chalice Press. pp. 48–60. ISBN 9780827237155. OCLC 988276950.
  6. ^ Maryniak, Paul (24 September 1994). "Homeless families evicted: squatters booted from HUD houses". Philadelphia Daily News. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 10 December 2017.

Further reading[edit]