CROWN HEIGHTS, Brooklyn — A 97-year-old veteran has already lived through many battles and now he's facing one more: eviction.
James Blakely, a Navy veteran who survived the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, will be in Housing Court in less than two weeks. A group called Black Veterans for Social Justice intends to evict the World War Two vet from his studio apartment, where the walls are covered with certificates of recognition and appreciation.
“I am so angry,” Blakely told PIX11. “And we will fight this legally.”
Six years ago Blakely, who is also an ordained minister, was living in a trailer with no running water in a junkyard on Buffalo Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant columnist Denis Hamill wrote an article in the Daily News about his living conditions.
That’s when, according to Hamill, a representative from the Black Veterans for Social Justice offered the studio apartment on Bergen Street to this World War Two vet rent free for the rest of his life.
Now the group says Blakely owes years in unpaid rent.
“They should be kicked to the moon and soon,” Blakely said.
Blakely’s Second wife, Bonita, is reluctant to say much more before the Jan. 4 Housing Court appearance.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for the Blakelys in case they lose their battle in Housing Court and must pay the more than $24,000 the veterans group says they owe in unpaid rent for the last six years.
The Blakelys are so grateful to this GoFundMe Page.
“It warms my heart, it really does,” Blakely said.
Calls and emails to the Black Veterans for Social Justice went unanswered this Holiday.