Tenants of a downtown Winston-Salem public housing complex gathered Tuesday to celebrate the decision to take the building off the market.

Canceling the plans to sell Crystal Towers means the elderly and disabled residents who live there won't be forced to move.

Samuel Grier has lived in the complex for about 15 years now. He's also a member of Crystal Towers United, a grass-roots group that came together to advocate for keeping the building as public housing.

He says organizing was the key to their victory.

“One person is not going to do it, not in this society,” he says. “We need a group, we need a unit of people, and thank God we got ‘em.”

Last week, the Housing Authority of Winston-Salem, or HAWS, announced plans to work with the city to keep Crystal Towers as public housing rather than sell it.

Several speakers said they were grateful for that decision. The group estimates that the building needs $7 million in repairs over 20 years. Residents too are pushing for important renovations, including what they say is an inadequate and unreliable elevator system. 

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