New Chicago Mayor Committed to Easing Red Tape to Create Affordable Housing
Photo Courtesy of Norvell Photography
On Sunday, March 19th, 304 United Power leaders met with two candidates for Chicago Mayor at Harmony Community Church in North Lawndale. The meeting was chaired by Pastor Brooks of Harmony Church and Fr. Brendan Curran with The Resurrection Project. (Update: Since the meeting took place, Brandon Johnson has been elected to the office of mayor of Chicago. He was officially sworn in on May 15th. United Power leaders had their first meeting with Mayor-elect. Johnson on May 14th)
United Power members and leaders presented their Reclaiming Chicago campaign to create 2,000 single-family homes on the south and west sides of the city that are affordable to working families. To date, United Power members have organized over $30 million in public and private commitments and secured the first 100 city-owned vacant lots to begin the first phase in North Lawndale. Another 40+ homes are underway and planned in Back of the Yards, Chicago Lawn, and Roseland this year.
Testimonies reflecting the challenges and success in the neighborhoods were shared by: Fred Weatherspoon with Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation, Ms. Chris Brown of the North Lawndale Homeowners' Association, Carlil Pittman and Elideth Hernandez both with Southwest Organizing Project. Shangwe Parker, with the North Lawndale Homeowners' Association and Lawndale Christian Development Corporation, along with Shenita Muse of the Hope Center Foundation in Roseland, energetically outlined United Power's Reclaiming Chicago accomplishments to date.
United Power members pledged to organize people from their institutions for a more significant action with the next Mayor of Chicago within 60 days of being inaugurated. Their pledges totaled 976 as of Sunday.
And then, United Power members asked the two candidates for their commitment to meet with the 976 people. Mr. Johnson and Mr. Vallas both responded with a "Yes" in writing. Mr. Johnson said, "Yes if the band comes back." And Mr. Vallas said, "Yes, within one week of the inauguration."
Each candidate then had 5 minutes to address the audience to let us know how they would: prioritize the Reclaiming Chicago effort, engage in a reciprocal relationship with United Power to equally press us on rebuilding the south and west sides neighborhoods with focus and scale just as much as we press them and to work together to break through the bureaucratic red tape that slows the pace and hampers the scale.