ONE Northside’s Affordable Housing Team chooses campaigns that focus on defending the North Side’s diverse neighborhoods against gentrification.
Right now 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, and has played a key role in holding developers accountable. 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.
Chicago Housing Initiative (CHI): ONE Northside is part of a city-wide coalition, the Chicago Housing Initative (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 tens of thousands of families on the waiting list looking for housing.
To hold CHA accountable for spending these funds towards providing public housing, we are working on a citywide ordinance called Keeping the Promise that would require more oversight of CHA through the city council. Since 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.
Right to Purchase: ONE Northside is working with allies to expand on the Chicago for All Ordinance to ensure that residents in all rental housing are protected, especially at time of building sale.
Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO): ONE Northside was part of a citywide group of organizations that create the ARO and recently were pushing for a stronger ARO, which is an ordinance that requires new development that need government support or approval to build a required amount of affordable housing units on-site or pay-out of this obligation through funding the citywide Low-Income Housing Trust Fund. 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 in 2015, ONE Northside was at the table, pushing the stakeholders to do more to create affordable housing in communities that needed it most. These improvements passed City Council in January 2015 and the revised legislation more than doubled the amount of revenue generated for affordable housing, as well as increased on-site affordable units.
Tenant Organizing: ONE Northside organizes tenant associations in at-risk project-based Section 8 buildings and Single Room Occupancy buildings, which are small micro-apartments that are usually at affordable rents. 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. In 2017, we have successfully worked with tenants to renew their Section 8 contracts for 5 more years in two Section 8 buildings in Uptown–840 W Sunnyside and Ainslie Manor.
Below are our current tenant organizing fights:
Wilson Men’s Hotel: ONE Northside is supporting tenants of the 250-unit Wilson Men’s Hotel in organizing a Tenant Association. The building was purchased by a developer, City Pads, in July 2017 who intends to displace all tenants and reduce the size of the building by 75%. The tenants are fighting for a relocation plan that allows all tenants to remain in affordable housing on the Northside, and for at least half the units following rehabilitation of the building to be affordable for those currently living there.
Uptown Tent City: ONE Northside has worked with homeless residents under the Wilson and Lawrence viaducts to demand a viable housing solution for all residents and to created a shift in the narrative of homelessness in Chicago. As affordable housing decreases throughout Chicago and the cost of living increases, ONE Northside wants to highlight the city’s inability to address Chicago’s overall affordable housing issues, particularly on the north side.
Development/CBA Campaigns: ONE Northside has been organizing for community benefits agreements (a type of contract between a developer and community members) in several developments on the north side. As more and more developer money comes into our neighborhoods, ONE Northside wants to ensure that that money goes towards affordable housing, local jobs, and protections for existing tenants, including small businesses, that could be displaced or priced out.
Below are three developments we are currently working on:
Wilson/Broadway: A developer named George Markopoulos is planning to build a 197-unit luxury development at the corner of Wilson & Broadway. ONE Northside is fighting for a CBA that guarantees that the development will meet certain criteria designated by the community, that guarantees a third of units as truly affordable, local living wage jobs in all aspects of the development, and protections for the small businesses which will be displaced from the site.
Granville/Broadway: There is a development on Granville and Broadway where developer, City Pads, has proposed building luxury studios to replace a car wash and cell phone store. Our team is working on a community benefits agreement with the developer to ensure the jobs pay a living wage, hire from the community, and includes more affordable units in the building.
No Target Coalition: There is a proposal to develop a Target on a property on Devon and Sheridan, owned by the Chicago Housing Authority, in 2019. While we support the new units of public housing coming into Rogers Park, we believe that leasing the land to a Target and a market-rate developer is a corporate giveaway of public land. Our team has been fighting for a community benefits agreement with Three Corners Development in order to ensure new jobs do local hiring, that there is truly affordable family-sized CHA units, and that there are protections for local, small businesses in the development of Target.