ONE Northside’s anti-gentrification team is joining the Lift the Ban coalition, statewide coalition of organizing groups fighting to to lift the ban on Rent Control in Illinois. ONE Northside’s team decided to join this coalition because because our communities are some of the most impacted in Chicago by gentrification and extremely high market rents.
The state of Illinois has had a ban on rent control, since 1997, when the Rent Control Preemption Act was passed by Senator Tom Walsh. You can read more about the history here.
David Ellington, a ONE Northside community leader working to Lift the Ban, has lived on the North side for 22 years. He cites the access to transportation, services, stores, and family as some of the reasons he stays on the North side.
He currently lives in the Edison Apartments on Sheridan Road at the border of Uptown and Edgewater. He has been living there for 10 years. This past winter, the apartment building has been undergoing some renovation and re-branding. His studio apartment, not yet renovated, suddenly jumped from being $865/month to over $1100/month. He would have to move out due to rehab. David works as a county clerk in the Daley Center making about $2100/month, and he is not able to afford this rent due to having to take days off for illness. David is also a veteran, and used to be homeless. After being laid off from his job and losing his home as a result, he stayed at shelters, then in Single Room Occupancies (SROs), and in the Delmar Apartments managed by Mercy Housing. Since then, he has worked hard to be employed and afford an apartment of his own. This huge unexpected increase in David’s rent has made him feel like all his work to get to where he is at is all falling apart.
Rent control is needed, as David says, because the hundreds of dollars in rent increases per month are “pushing the working class and people out of our neighborhoods.”
David recently signed-on to move to a smaller, but newer unit in his building for $1030/month. He lives paycheck to paycheck. Nearly his entire paycheck goes towards his rent to stay in his apartment.
“Housing shouldn’t be this expensive,” David says.
“Rent control, in addition to incentives for longtime residents to be able to stay in their neighborhoods, is important to maintaining community. The economy is not like it used to be. Workers are unlikely to get raises while rents skyrocket. This leaves less and less income for people…if I lose my job, or if any layoffs happen, I will be starting all over again.”
Longtime residents need rent control to be able to stay in their homes, and that’s just the beginning. We need to rethink the housing system.
If you are interested in joining David and ONE Northside in the fight for rent control in Illinois, contact Vivien Tsou at firstname.lastname@example.org.