Issue Task Forces
Linda J. Slavik
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Affordable Housing Task Force
Affordable Housing Task Force organizes around the preservation and creation of
affordable housing in Lakeview and Lincoln Park.
LAC leaders come together once a
month to get updates on the various campaigns we work on and to make decisions
around relevant issues we address.
Single Room Occupancy (SRO) Preservation Initiative:
The last SRO tenants at the Abbott Hotel on 721 W. Belmont were vacated on April 5th because of an order from the Chicago Fire Department due to the unsafe conditions in the building. BJB Properties, the new owner of this SRO, started doing rehab in the building with tenants still legally living there. The owner had shut off heat and water for weeks before this vacate order. These are among many of the tactics owners use to kick tenants out in order to move forward with their plan to gut rehab the building. LAC is working to preserve the Abbott to be an affordable SRO.
SROs serve an important housing option for the working poor, people with troubled credit, and people on a fixed income in our neighborhood. Jamie Purcell, of BJB Properties, has bought 4 SRO buildings, which account for more than 500 units of affordable housing in Lakeview alone. The owner has vacated low-income tenants from these buildings to make way for upscale, market-rate rental units, making them out of reach for all the prior tenants. SRO tenants and LAC have been working together to meet with the owner to bring affordability and accessibility into these newly rehabbed SROs and get commitment from our local Aldermen to preserve SROs in our neighborhood to be affordable.
The Chateau Hotel, one of the few remaining SROs in Lakeview, recently changed ownership and is suspected to be purchased by BJB Properties. Tenants at the Chateau are fighting to keep their building affordable and open. We need Alderman Cappleman to stand with the tenants to save the Chateau as an affordable SRO.
Click here for media on this issue.
Children’s Memorial Hospital Redevelopment Coalition:
LAC members have been working since 2008 to make sure that the new development at the recently-vacated Children’s Memorial Hospital includes a significant amount of affordable and workforce housing. We have commitments from Ald. Michele Smith, developer Dan McCaffery, and the Hospital that hard units will be provided to meet the requirements of the Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO), and our aim is for the housing to serve people earning a wide range of incomes. Furthermore, the ARO requires 10% of the residential housing to be affordable, but we are working to make sure the new developer exceeds that requirement, since this is such a unique opportunity in the neighborhood and there is such a great need for affordability in Lincoln Park. For more information, click here.
Chicago Housing Initiative (CHI):
LAC participates in a coalition of organizations that work with Section 8 and public housing tenants to preserve and improve their housing. We are currently active in two campaigns with CHI.
Belmont Tower Tenant Association (510 W. Belmont):
LAC VICTORY!!! After numerous trips to DC; countless actions on Senators Durbin
and Kirk, including Christmas Caroling, press conferences, petitions, phone
calls, and meetings; and many arduous policy and legal strategy sessions, LAC,
with the Chicago Housing Initiative, has won $10 million in an amendment to the
federal budget to help struggling families in maturing
Regarding 510 Belmont’s Section 8 contract, the owner renewed his Section 8 contract with HUD for 5 years in 2010, which is another victory for the Tenant Association!
Sweet Home Chicago Coalition:
LAC worked as part of a citywide coalition to make sure that 20% of all TIF money that is generated is spent on TIF’s original purpose, which was to create affordable housing. Although we did not reach our goal of 20%, our work resulted in the passage of an ordinance that will help turn vacant properties into affordable housing. LAC leaders put a tremendous amount of work into this campaign, and now people from all across the city will benefit! A summary of the ordinance can be found here.
Lincoln Park Plaza Tenant Organization:
Due to the work of the Lincoln Park Plaza Tenant Association, the owner of their building renewed the Section 8 contract for 5 years in December 2011. Congratulations, Lincoln Park Plaza!
Illinois Capital Budget:
LAC worked with United Power to convince State legislators to include money for affordable housing in the State Capital Budget. This past summer, Governor Quinn signed a capital bill that included $144 million for building and rehabbing affordable housing. This is the largest appropriation of state funding for affordable housing in the state's history - and the very first time housing has been included in a capital bill in Illinois. LAC leaders played an important role in this victory, and now we will be working to influence how this money gets spent.
Implementation of the Affordable Requirements Ordinance:
In 2007, LAC worked with the Balanced Development Coalition to pass the Affordable Requirements Ordinance, which requires many developers in the city to set aside 10% of their units for affordable housing. LAC is working to make sure that this new law is followed, and looking for opportunities to gain even more affordable units. More information on the Balanced Development Campaign here.
(Last updated: 3/15/13)