Housing ordinance introduced to help stop black resident displacement

CHICAGO — An ordinance to help stop the displacement of longtime, majority black residents around the Obama Presidential Center was introduced at city hall.

Members of the Obama Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) Coalition gathered at City Hall to introduce the CBA Housing Ordinance.

Activists said this is an urgent issue because residents are already being displaced.

"I’m hearing people telling me they’re moving out of the community, they’re doubling up with a family, 'I can’t afford it anymore,'" Ald. Jeanette Taylor, 20th Ward, said. "I’m hearing elders telling me property taxes are  way too high."

Sunday in Jackson Park, 20th Ward Alderwoman Jeanette Taylor and a coalition of community groups hosted a barbecue celebrating the proposed ordinance that was introduced last month.

The ordinance would address housing concerns within 2-miles of the planned Obama Presidential Center, setting aside 30% of new development for affordable housing, creating a community trust fund, providing property tax relief and giving tenants the right of first refusal.

Efforts to build the presidential center have been mired in legal challenges and a recent federal review found the center would have an adverse impact on the historic area.

The Obama Foundation has promised to work with the community to address concerns.

Parrish Brown an organizer with the Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization and Black Youth Project 100 said he’s not opposed to the location, but residents should have a voice in the process.

"If you say you’re going to do these things anyway, why not put in writing and make sure residents who live here are not displaced," Brown said. "That’s one of the biggest concerns, making sure you actually have the right to stay in your own home."

Taylor introduced the ordinance with Ald. Leslie Hairston. They’re hoping to get it up for a vote before the full city council in September.

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