On Tuesday night, leaders from the Metropolitan Tenants Organization joined homeless activists and supporters from the Chicago Housing Initiative (CHI) in a symbolic sleep out at City Hall to protest the CHA’s failure to deliver housing. They called on the Mayor and City Council to increase oversight by passing the #KeepingthePromise Ordinance.
“The Chicago Housing Authority is sitting on surplus money and is unwilling to release any of it.” says Leah Levinger, spokesperson for CHI. The CHA is currently withholding 11,000 available housing vouchers from circulation and leaving over 2,800 public housing units vacant while 122,000 households languish on CHA’s waiting lists. 40% of wait listers are disabled. This withholding of resources has led to the CHA’s large surplus – all in a time when the city of Chicago grapples with a $426 million budget deficit.
Laura Donaldson, a leader with Access Living, is currently living in an emergency shelter and has been trying to obtain CHA housing for over 20 years. She said that she slept outside in order to be seen by the Mayor. “The Mayor says there is no need for this ordinance. Well I am living proof that is a lie. I need this ordinance to be passed. I want to move on with my life and be a vital member of society, but I can’t do that until I get off the CHA’s waiting list and into housing.”
The Metropolitan Tenants Organization and the Chicago Housing Initiative are continuing the fight for affordable housing and CHA accountability through the passing of the Keeping the Promise Ordinance. Please contact us today if you would like to get involved in this important campaign.
More coverage: Univision Chicago, ABC 7, The Chicago Defender, The Crusader, Hoy, Progress Illinois, and Social Justice News Network. You can see video of the press conference that preceded the sleep out here and here.