CHICAGO – While many Chicagoans view the up-and-coming Obama Presidential Center as a victory for the city, some residents near the massive South Side landmark continue to voice their concerns about the building’s potential effect on affordable housing.
South Shore residents who desire to stay in their community met at Parkside Elementary School Sunday afternoon to announce their housing demands hoping those city leaders will consider and take them seriously.
While community leaders, along with longtime South Shore residents, say they are not opposed to the Obama Presidential Center coming to the neighborhood, they are opposed to residential displacement due to increased costs associated with the planned historic landmark.
“It’s not fair that I’m being forced out because I can’t afford the housing market value in our area,” said Tahiti Hamer, who has lived in South Shore her entire life.
Hamer says she has seen seniors in her neighborhood forced out because of increased property taxes in recent years.
Now, Hamer and members of the community Benefits Agreement Coalition are urging the city to put policies in place that protect existing South Shore residents.
“It’s not about politics. It’s not about Obama. It’s not about the mayor. It’s about people. It’s about the people in South Shore who are struggling,” said resident Dixon Romeo.
Some of the coalition’s demands include ensuring equitable development, addressing displacement, preserving affordable housing and expanding tenant protections.