December 1, 2011
MTO Support Jane Addams Senior Caucus Rally
Members of Metropolitan Tenants Organization participated in a rally to call for a federal budget that protects important social programs on Monday, November 7th in downtown Chicago. The rally was organized by Jane Addams Senior Caucus and included an act of civil disobedience through which an estimated 43 people were arrested. Among those those committing themselves to the civil disobedience action was MTO Organizer, Sara Mathers, who stated, ”The proposed budget cuts will unfairly impact those of us who can least afford to make the sacrifice. It is unfair to ask and unjust to legislate.”
This rally is another outpouring of concern in what has been a series of demonstrations designed to build awareness around the impact of proposed cuts to service programs in the federal budget which have taken place over the past few months. U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and U.S. Representative Danny Davis were on hand and addressed the crowd.
Advocates from all areas of social service are coming together to raise a united voice in support of those who will be most impacted by a reduction in programs to aid individuals and families already struggling in this economic environment.
For information on how you can become involved in the campaign around proposed federal budget cuts – in particular cuts to the budget of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, contact Sara Mathers at 773.292.4980 ext. 240.
Residents of Parkway Gardens Set the Standard for Reclaiming Community
Parkway Gardens is a HUD subsidized 694 unit apartment building complex located on the Southside of Chicago. It is the largest HUD development in Chicago. In 2001, a tenant from Parkway Gardens called Metropolitan Tenants Organization’s (MTO) Tenant Rights Hotline. MTO organizers met with the residents and conducted a tenant rights workshop and so began the journey to save Parkway Gardens. At this meeting, residents complained about deplorable conditions such as repairs not being done, rodents, pests and poor security. However, their work extended far beyond negotiating “make do” renovations to a development so clearly in need of extensive rehab. MTO organizers engaged the residents of Parkway in a 10 year battle to claim their right to safe, decent and affordable housing.
For 10 long years the tenants at Parkway Gardens fought the owners and managers and sometimes even officials at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) so that they would not lose their subsidized housing and the community in which they live and MTO organizers walked with them every step of the way. On July 28, a new page in the tenants’ battle for respect and dignity started as Related Management purchased the development and promised to rehab the apartments and to work with the tenants to improve Parkway Gardens. The commitment goes beyond a “promise” as Related Management has made it clear they intend to invest millions of dollars in the rehab effort – and the community plans to hold them to that commitment.
Ten years is a long time, but residents of this community remember a time when Parkway Gardens was one of the marvels of the community. The complex boasted sculptured landscaping, beautiful and well maintained units and common areas. There were no gates or physical evidence of drugs or crime. According to tenants who have lived there for a period 35 to 50 years, Parkway was a place with safe and above average living conditions, plus it was a great place to raise children. This is a memory worth fighting to bring back to life, and the residents of Parkway Gardens are committed to that vision.
IT’S TIME TO PARTY WITH MTO!
MTO’s Annual Holiday Party
will be held on December 16th at the
Chicago Urban League
located at 4510 South Michigan Avenue.
6:00pm to 10:00pm
There will food, fun, drinks and there will be DANCING!
Invitations are out.
RSVP to Clarissa St. Germaine
at 773.292.4980 ext. 222