Affordable Housing Team
ONE Northside works on several affordable housing issues:
SROs: ONE Northside led the Chicago for All Coalition, which was successful in passing the Single Room Occupancy Preservation Ordinance on November 12, 2014. The Ordinance regulates the sale of SROs and provides new tenant protections. Our focus now is on implementing the Ordinance by bringing together all stakeholders — tenants, owners, the City, and developers — to make sure SROs across Chicago are preserved and improved. So far, affordable housing developers at 6 SROs are on their way to preserving the properties for the current residents. The Ordinance has been a huge success so far!
Chicago Housing Initiative (CHI): ONE Northside is part of a city-wide coalition, CHI, working to preserve and improve public housing in Chicago. The Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) is currently sitting on over $430 million in unused funds and has left thousands of units intentionally vacant, letting our public resources go to waste for years. This affects the tens of thousands of families on the waiting list looking for housing.
To change this and hold CHA accountable, we are working on a citywide ordinance that would require more oversight of CHA through the city council. Considering that the lack of regulation of CHA is also due to a federal agreement that exists between 39 local housing authorities and the federal government, we are working on a national campaign to demand more transparency and inclusiveness of community organizations in formulating and implementing these agreements.
Presbyterian Homes: In August, 2015, ONE Northside and Jane Addams Senior Caucus received notice that Presbyterian Homes was planning to sell their buildings to a market rate developer, displacing all 112 current low-income senior tenants. Together, we organized the tenants to put public pressure on Presbyterian Homes to sell to an affordable housing developer instead. After numerous press conferences, countless letters of support, dozens of phone calls to Board members, pressure from elected officials, and a lawsuit against Presbyterian Homes (with the help of Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, Ltd.), Presbyterian Homes has agreed to sell to an affordable housing developer. The Chicago Housing Authority has plans to purchase the building in March, contingent on the lawsuit being resolved. All parties have hope that they will be able to reach agreement and that this will be a win for everyone.
Affordable Requirements Ordinance: ONE Northside was part of a citywide group of organizations that were pushing for a stronger and more ARO. These groups had previously fought to pass the original ARO passed in 2007. When the City called a task force to look at the ARO, ONE Northside was at the table, pushing the stakeholders to do more to create affordable housing in communities that needed it most. The improvements passed City Council in January 2015 and the revised legislation will more than double the amount of revenue generated for affordable housing, and will also increase on-site affordable units.
Tenant Organizing: ONE Northside organizes tenant associations in at-risk project-based Section 8 buildings and SROs. The tenant associations work to preserve the affordability and improve the conditions of their housing, and to educate each other about their rights as tenants.