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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:59pm
Mon May 2

Homeless Chicagoans, Advocates Skeptical Of Housing Pilot Program For 'Tent City' Residents

Homeless individuals who live under Lake Shore Drive viaducts on Chicago's North Side met Monday morning with city officials to discuss a new pilot program that will provide them with housing and support services. 

Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) Commissioner Lisa Morrison Butler and North Side Alds. James Cappleman (46th) and Harry Osterman (48th) were at the meeting, held at Weiss Memorial Hospital. Also in attendance were various homeless advocates, service providers and community members.

At issue was a city pilot program, announced late last month, aimed at placing 75 chronically homeless individuals into permanent housing. The homeless individuals live in tent encampments, also known as tent cities, under viaducts near Lake Shore Drive at Irving Park Road and Foster, Lawrence and Wilson Avenues. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:54pm
Tue Jan 12

Chicago Development Panel Advances Controversial Uptown Housing TIF Project

Chicago's Community Development Commission (CDC) unanimously approved a controversial plan Tuesday to provide a $15.8 million tax increment financing (TIF) subsidy for an upscale apartment complex in Uptown, despite opposition from some local low-income housing advocates.

The $125 million luxury housing development, proposed for the former Columbus Maryville Academy site near the city's lakefront, still needs Chicago City Council approval.

A group of about 30 community activists spoke against the proposal outside of City Hall's council chambers before attending the CDC meeting. The protesters toted signs reading, "No Public Funds For Private Profit." They saw support from Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey and TIF activist Tom Tresser.

"I stand with my Uptown neighbors ... to demand that Mayor Emanuel's rubber stamp not be used one more time by the Community Development Commission to rob the taxpayers of Chicago and send millions of public dollars into private pockets," Tresser, with the TIF Illumination Project, said during public comment at the CDC meeting.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
7:28pm
Thu Sep 18, 2014

Chicago Activists Press Alds. Cappleman, O'Connor To Support $15 Minimum Wage (VIDEO)

While working roughly 60 hours a week at two jobs, Ovadhwah McGee says he lives paycheck to paycheck and struggles to pay his bills each month.

McGee, a single father living in the South Side Woodlawn neighborhood with his 13-year-old son, said he works as an in-home care worker and a certified nursing assistant, making an hourly wage of $12.35 and $13.50, respectively.

“I need to be able to put food on my table without having to go to food pantries. I need to be able to work one job so I can actually spend time with my son,” he said, adding that he can’t afford to get his car fixed and thus spends two hours on public transit every day to get to and from work.

“I’m here fighting for a $15 minimum wage in the city of Chicago because I need it, because my son needs it and because working families across the city need it,” McGee said.

McGee and roughly two-dozen protesters, members of the Raise Chicago coalition, rallied to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour Thursday morning. The ralliers called on two Chicago aldermen — Alds. Patrick O’Connor (40th) and James Cappleman (46th) — to support their cause by protesting outside of their offices. The activists also demonstrated outside of a North Side McDonald’s restaurant.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:24pm
Tue Feb 25, 2014

Debate Over Luxury Housing Development In Uptown Rages On

An advisory zoning committee for Chicago's 46th Ward signed off on a private developer's request for $14 million in tax increment financing (TIF) assistance for a proposed luxury housing complex in Uptown at its monthly meeting Monday night.

The 46th Ward’s Zoning and Development Committee, put in place by Ald. James Cappleman (46th), approved preliminary plans for JDL Development's TIF project despite opposition from low-income housing advocates in the area.

A group of about 30 community activists staged a protest outside of Cappleman's office Monday night before attending the zoning meeting, held at Weiss Memorial Hospital. The protestors toted signs reading, "Stop displacing our neighborhood" and "Save Uptown diversity." 

"Cappleman, as alderman over his tenure in office, repeatedly supported gentrification projects that affect the community in ways that force out diversity from Uptown and that have devastating effects on low-income communities and communities of color in Uptown," community activist Ashley Bohrer said at the protest. "Building affordable housing would be the best way to use public money for public services, and that means helping communities that are in the most need." 

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
12:39pm
Mon Apr 29, 2013

Uptown Residents Rally Against Proposed School Closures, Gentrification (VIDEO)

Quanzina Haynes plans to pull her children from the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district if the Chicago Board of Education votes in favor of closing their school, Graeme Stewart Elementary.

“The closure for me would really mean a hardship for my family, because I feel I have no choice but to enroll my kids in a Catholic school,” said Haynes, 33, a single mother of two sons, ages eight and 10.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:33pm
Tue Apr 23, 2013

Uptown Residents Decry Proposed $220 Million Luxury Housing Development At 46th Ward Zoning Meeting

Opponents of a planned $220 million luxury residential building in Uptown were ignored and not permitted to ask the 46th Ward’s Zoning and Development Committee questions about the project at its meeting Monday night.

Members of the advisory committee, put in place by Ald. James Cappleman (46th), adjourned its monthly meeting at Weiss Memorial Hospital despite multiple people who had waited patiently with their hands raised to comment on the plan, which calls for 842 mostly high-income units.

“We are totally opposed to this plan,” Marc Kaplan of Northside Action for Justice shouted as some committee members quickly filed past him out of the the hospital’s auditorium.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:40pm
Fri Apr 12, 2013

CivicLab Highlights Questionable TIF Projects In Uptown

The city’s tax increment financing, or TIF, program is an economic development tool, but it should really be called a Chicago bailout for private companies, some Uptown residents said at a town hall meeting Thursday night as part of the CivicLab’s TIF Illumination Project.

“Why don’t we call (TIF) Chicago welfare,” 46th Ward resident Ryne Poelker asked at the meeting held at the Peoples Church of Chicago. “Why don’t they call it a bailout?”

Property taxpayers in the 46th Ward paid out about $87.6 million for TIF projects in the area since the inception of the program under former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington through 2010, according to the CivicLab’s data analysis.

More than half of that money went to private developers for projects such as the Wilson Yard, a retail space at 4400 N. Broadway Ave., that houses a Target, Aldi grocery store and low-income housing units. The project received more than $50 million in TIF funds, according to the CivicLab.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
2:50pm
Thu Apr 11, 2013

49th Ward Hosts Community Budgeting Meeting Geared Towards Latino Community

Rogers Park residents gathered for the final installation of the 49th ward Participatory Budgeting Project Expo last night and listened to proposed infrastructure projects for their community.

The meeting, which was entirely in Spanish, was geared specifically for Rogers Park’s Hispanic residents.

Project organizers said they hoped the Spanish-language meeting would boost civic engagement from the community’s Hispanic population.

“It’s been a challenge to get the Latino community to participate, and the idea was that if we provided them with a space where they could dialogue about the projects it would be easier for Spanish-speakers to participate,” said Jose Melendez, a volunteer mentor to the Participatory Budgeting Spanish Language Committee and member of the Participatory Budgeting Leadership Committee.

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