Advocates call for more affordable housing near Obama Presidential Center

CHICAGO — Despite the various advantages of an Obama Presidential Center in Jackon Park, fears stay over spiking actual property costs and gentrification within the surrounding neighborhoods.

While the Obamas and metropolis officers broke floor on the brand new Presidential Center Tuesday, a gaggle of involved residents, a lot of whom had been life-long residents of neighborhoods like South Shore and Washington Park, spoke out amid fears rising rents would power them out.

“You can cut the ribbon but don’t cut us out,” mentioned South Shore resident Dixon Romeo. “This is our community.  We should be able to stay.”

Romeo, together with members of the Community Benefits Agreement Coalition, rallied on the nook of 61st & Stony Island in hopes that former President Barack Obama and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot would hear their issues.

“If we don’t stand up for ourselves, nobody in this city is going to stand up for us but us,” mentioned Woodlawn resident Sharon Payne.

Shannon Bennett with the Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization was among the many group demanding more from Chicago metropolis council members, who handed a neighborhood advantages ordinance final year. Many say the regulation shouldn’t be sufficient, nevertheless.

“We want to make sure Mayor Lightfoot keeps her promise,” Bennett mentioned. “What we need from her is a commitment to identify where those lots will be. She’s yet to do that.”

When it involves empty tons and new tasks, akin to a Woodlawn growth with dozens of affordably-priced models, Chicago’s Department of Housing mentioned more is on the way in which in surrounding neighborhoods. For instance, there’s a $7 million Woodlawn mortgage fund and the 58-unit mixed-income constructing at 63rd & Maryland. Additionally, town targeted on preserving present affordable housing stock often known as the “PEAR” program. There’s additionally monetary help for buying affordable multi-family buildings with 20% of the models affordable for renters with different housing initiatives on Chicago’s South Shore.

Latoya Clay, a skilled chef and proprietor of “Crown Deserts,” says she’s optimistic the Presidential Center can be good for the neighborhood. 

“I think it’s opportunity for everyone,” Clay mentioned.

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