On July 28th, families, disabled citizens, and the elderly throughout Chicago celebrated the unanimous passage of a City Council Resolution authored by tenants, organizers, and allies with the Chicago Housing Initiative (CHI) opposing any cuts to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Led by Alderman Suarez, Chairman of the Committee on Housing and Real Estate, forty-seven aldermen signed on to the Resolution, which urged IL Senators Durbin and Kirk to preserve desperately needed HUD funding for Chicago and the nation. In recent years, Congress has cut HUD funding to dangerously low levels and, this year, is threatening once again to decimate programs that help those most in need.
In Chicago alone, HUD funding provides more than $250 million in Public Housing Capital and Operating dollars and helps to house an estimated 185,562 low-income families and seniors. Additionally, HUD’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME programs provide an enormous range of affordable housing, economic development, and social service programs for the residents of Chicago. In fact, a number of wards in Chicago benefit from over $1 million in CDBG funding. These services help Chicagoans avoid foreclosure, hunger, and homelessness. In these difficult economic times, Chicagoans simply can’t risk losing any more of the services HUD funds.
As the debt crisis winds down, and the battle for the budget begins, residents throughout Chicago are sounding the alarm about what a loss of federal funds would mean for Chicago neighborhoods. Passing this City Council Resolution was an important first step, but there is more work to be done. Wilma Pittman Gibson, a community leader with ONE and CHI says she hopes that the City Council “will go one step further and hold a Hearing where we can tell the stories of what these cuts will really mean for our communities.”