NAACP Blindsided by Condemnation of Longtime Offices

After spending a year in a portable office, the NAACP feels the rug pulled out from under them

The white box that Austin NAACP President Nelson Linder says the branch has been working out of since Winter Storm Uri
"The white box" that Austin NAACP President Nelson Linder says the branch has been working out of since Winter Storm Uri (Provided by Nelson Linder)

After 57 years at 1717 E. 12th, Austin's branch of the NAACP had the rug pulled out from under it with a surprise condemnation that will force the branch to relocate, President Nelson Linder announced on Facebook.

After Winter Storm Uri damaged the building in February 2021, Linder says the Simpson United Methodist Church, which owns the space, promised its NAACP tenants that it would be repaired. Given that promise, the NAACP renewed its lease in October. In December, the church office told Linder that repairs would be complete by the end of February. Instead, the group paid non-discounted rent for 12 months while working out of a small mobile office trailer which sat outside the main building.

The city of Austin, in conjunction with the church, an insurance company, and a contractor, made "the impromptu decision to condemn this building after promising to repair it," Linder wrote. In his Facebook post, Linder asked the city why it would condemn the property now, given that "conditions in this building have not changed since you assured the Austin NAACP a year ago, it would be repaired … This is indicative of how African Americans were treated after the Winter storm."

The NAACP branch will move into 1050 E. 11th. The Simpson United Methodist Church had not responded to request for comment as of press time.

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