Wednesday, December 19, 2018

#ChiMayor2019 What Does the Next Chicago Mayor Have in Mind for Affordable Housing?

From Next City. Something to consider citywide:
The main portion of the forum consisted of questions presented by representatives of each of the co-sponsoring organizations.

As the first questioner, Raymon Barrera, Logan Square Neighborhood Association inquired about closing loopholes in the Affordable Requirements Ordinance that impede on the development of family-sized units. In response, Enyia cited growing up in a large family and understanding the acute need for housing that is adequate to accommodate families. Lightfoot called for outright elimination of the opt-out clause of the ARO.

Reina Meja of ONE Northside asked about Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) reform and preserving public housing. All the candidates present broadly criticized CHA. Preckwinkle cited evidence that public housing units were being torn down and replaced with commercial developments. She criticized the finding, and called for 1-for-1 replacement of public housing units torn down. She also stated that public housing should be more equitably distributed throughout the city, with more units located in affluent areas of the city, rather than concentrated in low-income areas.

Annie Hodges of Kenwood Oakland Community Organization asked specifically about each candidate’s support for rent control — specifically, about lifting the statewide ban on rent control that has been in place since 1997. Green was particularly passionate in his support of rent control, stating that the real test would be whether a future mayor would resist developers and their financial clout and “stand with the people”. McCarthy deviated from other candidates on this topic, claiming that broad-based rent controls were not the answer, that landlords would simply cut services in less affluent areas to maintain their profit margins. His response was met with a significant number of red cards — but also a smattering of green cards.

Jon Adams of ONE Northside inquired about raising revenue to provide services for homeless individuals, like the 1.2 percent transfer tax on high-end real estate transactions proposed by the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. Mayor Emanuel shot down the idea earlier this year. In contrast, all the candidates present agreed to the idea.

Lanessa Young of Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP) asked candidates about their positions on obtaining a community benefits agreement for the proposed Obama Center and additional developments. This question generated enthusiastic support from candidates and spirited responses from the audience. Green specifically emphasized the need to separate admiration for Obama from allowing the Obama Foundation to ignore the needs of the community. McCarthy expressed support for community benefits agreements, but added that “stimulus measures” were also needed.

In response to a question about environmental justice from Cheryl Johnson with People for Community Recovery, there was general consensus around the need for more accountability. Green stated that the city should make a serious effort to address lead contamination, stating “we should be dealing with this problem now. We don’t want to be like Flint in 20 years.”

Monica Dillon of Neighbors for Affordable Housing posed the final question about fair housing and aligning city departments and planning processes to advance equity for citizens. She cited the O’Hare region, which is rich in jobs but lacking in affordable housing. The candidates expressed consensus. McCarthy in particular, stated bluntly that Chicago was a place where “you have to have a guy to get things done,” and insisted, “that this situation needs to change.”
h/t CapFax

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