Tuesday, January 13, 2015

LSEA Supports Proposed "Keeping the Promise" Ordinance

At our monthly meeting on January 13, 2015, LSEA leaders affirmed their support for the proposed "Keeping the Promise" ordinance, and committed to participate in a press conference scheduled for 9 a.m., Wednesday January 21, 2015, on the second floor of Chicago City Hall.

LSEA member congregations are encouraged to turn out support for this important press conference.

About the "Keeping the Promise" Ordinance

(From the Chicago Housing Initiative website) "The Keeping the Promise Ordinance urges Chicago’s City Council to step in to end the abuses allowed under CHA’s federal de-regulation agreement. . . . According to CHA’s latest financial report (FY2012), the Chicago Housing Authority is sitting on surplus cash of more than $432 million. (To put that in perspective, CHA’s cash stockpile is larger than the whole City of Chicago’s budget deficit for 2014.) . . . The CHA has accumulated this cash surplus by deciding to circulate 13,500 fewer housing vouchers than HUD has funded CHA to provide annually."

Read full details of the the "Keeping the Promise" Ordinance on the website of the Chicago Housing Initiative.

MEDIA ADVISORY - Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Residents from the Lathrop Homes and Altgeld Gardens open today's
Chicago Housing Initiative press conference with chants, outlining
the devastation created by the CHA's 'Plan of Transformation', saying
"this will change, by us, for us. Because housing is a human right!"
Mayor, it's time to hold CHA accountable: 
Pass the #KeepingThePromise Ordinance!

For more information:

Leah Levinger, Chicago Housing Initiative

Aldermen urge swift action to stop cold-related deaths, make housing available

On eve of Chicago's annual count of the homeless, City Council members demand hearing on an ordinance that could help thousands access housing with the Chicago Housing Authority; Proposed ordinance would create a local accountability mechanism for CHA

WHO: Public housing residents and community leaders -- and a diverse group of Aldermen including: Joe Moreno (1st), Roderick Sawyer (6th), Ricardo Munoz (22nd), Roberto Maldonado (26th), Ariel Reboyras (30th), Scott Waguespack (32nd) and Deborah Mell (33rd).

WHAT: Aldermen urge hearing on Keeping the Promise Ordinance, on eve of annual homeless count

WHEN: Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, 9:30 am sharp

WHERE: City Hall, 121 S. LaSalle, 2nd Floor


* 100 people in T-shirts that read "Housing Justice Voter" and “Keep the Promise"
* Large signs with pictures of families on the CHA's waiting list


CHICAGO – January 21, 2015. On the eve of the City’s annual count of the homeless, City Council members will urge Alderman Ray Suarez, Chair of the City Council Committee on Housing and Real Estate, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel to call a hearing on the Keeping the Promise Ordinance, which would help over 10,000 more low-income families access affordable housing with the Chicago Housing Authority, at no cost to the City’s budget.

In the wake of recent cold-related deaths of the homeless and extreme weather conditions, Aldermen across the City are growing increasingly anxious about what the upcoming, Jan. 22nd “snapshot” of Chicago’s homeless population will reveal. Last year’s Point-In-Time homeless count revealed nearly 1,000 homeless individuals sleeping on the streets, despite frostbite and hypothermia warnings in place throughout the mid-January overnight count.

Aldermanic support for reform of the Chicago Housing Authority has grown after a Report issued in July by the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability (CTBA) revealed that the Chicago Housing Authority failed to issue an average of 13,500 available housing vouchers each year over the last five years, instead stockpiling over $432 million in surplus cash between FY2008 and FY2012. The Keeping the Promise Ordinance would increase City Council’s oversight of the CHA, to ensure available funds are used in an efficient and timely manner to help the greatest number of families. At least 15,900 of the families who applied for CHA assistance during the November waitlist lottery are homeless.

Alderman Joe Moreno, the lead sponsor of the Keeping the Promise Ordinance states, “Tomorrow, volunteers across the City will help count the homeless men, women, and children who are sleeping on the streets of Chicago right now. But let’s not just count them, let’s house them! Helping these individuals --- saving their lives---- is within our power as a city, but we can’t do it without getting the Chicago Housing Authority running in a better way. My colleagues and I are committed to that. We are demanding Alderman Suarez hold an immediate Hearing on the Keeping the Promise Ordinance to move this important legislation forward.”

See Chicago Sun-Times, January 21, 2015: "Activists: Use $440 million surplus to ease homelessness" by Fran Spielman.

Related posts

2014 Las Posadas procession at Lathrop Homes
Event in support of affordable housing.
Rev. Erik Christensen, pastor at St. Luke's Logan Square,
leads the singing along Clybourne Avenue.
(Photo courtesy Jeff Lucas)

On the heels of a December 10, 2013, community meeting that brought over 400 people out to demand an immediate opening of unused units to people in need of housing, on Saturday a coalition of churches, community organizations, and residents associations will hold a holiday Posada -- a Latin American traditional re-enactment of the search by the parents of Jesus for hospitality -- that does double-duty dramatizing the plight of people left in the cold by Chicago housing policies.

(See POSADA 2013: Is there room at the inn at the CHA’s Lathrop Homes? on the Remedy for Violence website.)