Good morning, my name is Ms. Patricia Hightower. I am a resident of Chicago, Illinois, and I live in a senior building on the southeast side of Chicago. I am also a member of the Metropolitan Tenants Organization.
I am very concerned about the number of vacant properties that are in our neighborhoods. These properties are not only eyesores but are emotionally disturbing to citizens who are already overwhelmed with the high cost of living, crime, utility and medical bills.
In addition to being an eyesore, these properties are a breeding ground for drugs, gangs, illegal activities and prostitution. Hard working law-abiding citizens should not have to walk by vacant properties occupied by gangs. These are the same gangs that use vacant properties to stash their drugs and run illegal activity.
Oftentimes, the vacant properties I see in my community are not maintained. The grass is not cut, garbage is everywhere, mice and rats roam freely and drug paraphernalia is visible. The Vacant Property Ordinance Bill is significant because it gives concerned citizens the ability to hold banks accountable when they can’t find the owner of properties that are not maintained properly.
As a concerned citizen, I value my community and feel strongly that vacant properties devalue the economics and social fabric of my community.
I strongly urge the committee to pass the Vacant Property Ordinance and demonstrate to the citizens of Chicago that they value all communities.
I would like to thank the committee’s for allowing me to express my concerns and views on vacant properties and their affect on my community.
I am encouraged that we are headed in the right direction to change this epidemic that plagues too many communities.
Again, thank you.