Thursday, November 19, 2009

Affordable Housing March

A few readers saw a march winding its way through Uptown on Tuesday afternoon and asked via email if we knew what it was about.

All we know is that flyers were distributed by Mercy Housing urging folks to "Join the March For Affordable Housing!" and to meet in the lounge of the Carlton SRO, 4626 N Magnolia, to make signs and to have lunch afterwards. The photo above was taken by a reader at Leland and Magnolia; other readers saw the marchers at Broadway and Lawrence, and along Sheridan. So now you know as much as we do.


  1. This is just hillarious.

    In my mind, if my lease or mortgage is too high, I move somewhere else. I don't march and expect the government to fix it for me.

  2. I saw this around 2pm on Tuesday and was wondering what it was all about. It struck me as pretty bizarre to have a protest at 2pm on a weekday. I do remember a guy holding a sign that said "I Want My TIF Turkey." Not sure what that is supposed to mean.

    It had a strange 'staged' feel to it. Like a "proof that people want affordable housing in Uptown" PR stunt or something. There was a guy with what looked like a high quality camcorder following the group so I figured it might have been a scene for a student film on Uptown, or housing, or the like.

  3. Do these people know something that I don't (namely that there is a severe shortage of affordable hosuing in Uptown)??????

  4. Because we already don't have enough is Uptown? You can't sling a dead cat in this neighborhood without hitting a subsidized building.

    These people have quite a sense of entitlement.

  5. I agree with Craig. If housing is not affordable, then you know what, you move. I've rented in several areas and if the rents were out of my price range, I didn't march DEMANDING my landlord make my rent to the amount I personally thought it should be.

    If people don't like the rents in uptown, Ehem, there are other sections in this city that have much more affordable rents. Maybe they should look northwest, west, southwest of the city.

    People need to start taking personal responsibility for their actions and their positions in life. The City of Chicago along with other not for profit organizations offer classes and training with little to no funds out of pocket.

    I guess its easier to demand something for free. Sorry with ballooning deficits, something is going to have to be cut. China is sending warning shots they are not going to support a welfare state and businesses are not going to pay higher taxes. they will just leave.

    I'm a democrat but I also believe you work hard for your keep. You set your priorities and you adjust your life based on what you earn. If you are brought up that demanding things and you don't earn it, i hate to say it, its not going to happen anymore. Can't afford kids, Don't have them. Can't afford living on the north side. Move to a more reasonable area. I want to live in NYC but its economically not feasible for me to live and work there. Should I march because I can't get my dream apartment in the sky? Get serious people. People are willing to help those in need but you better be busting your ass to earn your keep also.

  6. At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist...

    It wouldn't surprise me if this was orchestrated by the aldercritter and her minions to make a case for turning the old Salvation Army building on Broadway (at the risk of a fish farm) and/or the Mercy building at Montrose and Clarendon into yet more subsidized housing in this area.

    Just a theory.

  7. Seriously though, why hold a protest at 2pm on a residential street that has no businesses while the majority of people who live there are at work?

    Very strange indeed!

  8. I think Ray is onto something.

  9. I am sure they did this at 2 pm on purpose. A lot of people who wouldn't necessarily agree with them were at work.

    Ray - I think your theory is pretty dead on.

  10. Affordable housing *is* needed. Many Mercy Housing tenants have nowhere else to go, either because of poverty or mental illness. Unlike many of us, they have no other options. I'm proud to live in a compassionate society that provides for those without the advantages many others enjoy.

    I've got no beef with the provision of affordable housing for those who need it.

    However, my beef *is* with the attitude that the 46th Ward is the only place where such housing can and should be located.

    It's time for the rest of the city to start shouldering their fair share and stop saying "send them to Uptown!" By the same token, it's time for the alderman to start demanding the rest of the city starts taking responsibility and for her to take in the "more more more" welcome mat.

  11. I have no opinion on this march but it's pretty funny to see the same people who have their own protests about changing the neighborhood tell others "move somewhere else if you don't like it the way it is."

    They say if you don't like the crime then you should move.

    You say if you don't like the rent rates then you should move.

    As always one side sounds like they don't care about the well being of the neighborhood and the other side sounds like callous douchebags. We should all be working together to better the ward- not widening the gap by saying things like "THESE PEOPLE have quite a sense of entitlement."

  12. Exactly right Miss Kitty. No one would be around to oppose their march. They can tape the march, and then it can be used by Helen to present her case to develop those two plots of land (which are in the TIF boundaries) into more subsidized housing.

    Don't get me wrong here. I'm not against subsidized housing. I am for sound urban planning. And adding more subsidized housing into this area which is already around 25%+ subsidized is NOT sound urban planning.

  13. I agree with you, TrumanSquare Neighbor. Affordable housing "YES"! perpetuating the city's sorry-ass excuse for affordable housing policy "NO"!

    This videotaped march is just more Uptown political theater.

    I wonder if someone could tell me why they didn't host the rally down at the Michael Reese hospital site? The city supposedly bought that land to be used for affordable housing. How many of us really believe that new affordable units will be built on that site in the near future? Now that would have been a march!!!

    I'd go and hold Helen's hand and chant and everything. Sorry but until the affordable housing crowd grows some 'nads, I'm calling BS.

  14. Just a thought but if they spent time working like most people do at 2 PM in the afternoon maybe they would be able to afford housing...

  15. "if they spent time working like most people do at 2 PM in the afternoon..."

    Come on now.

    You don't see a lot of people in Mercy Housing who have the ability to hold a job (especially in this economy). We're talking about the physically and mentally challenged, the chronically ill, the working poor. If you've got PTSD, if you're in chronic pain, if you're a paranoid schizophrenic, if you get $800 a month from social security, if you're mentally challenged, especially if you don't have a family, how do you live WITHOUT places like Mercy?

    Even if you're able to work, if you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse, or are recently out of prison, how do you compete against people in an economy where there are five applicants for every job opening?

    There is a place for affordable housing in this society, and I'm glad we're not like third world countries that leave people like this out on the streets to die or be prey. However, as I said before, affordable housing doesn't doesn't need to be, and shouldn't be, concentrated in just a few chosen communities while others provide virtually none.

  16. Um, isn't there a HUGE new affordable housing building going up at Wilson Yard?

  17. Does anyone know what transpired at the 'lunch at the Carlton Lounge' after the march?
    This seems more like a 'passion play' procession so to speak...something quite staged.

  18. TSN,

    You crazy pinko commie....

    I agree with you. ;-)

    I would also march in solidarity with Shiller for affordable housing at the Michael Reese site!

  19. TSN....OOOPPSS I did not read the story just the title.

  20. Ray,

    If you can't understand the difference between someone who chooses to rent out their private property and someone who commits a crime then you need to take a basic course in ethics.

    A landlord and a murderer are not ethically the same.

  21. Hey Raych - sorry you feel the need to classify people who do see a need for even more low income housing in the 46th Ward as callous douchebags.

    The "entitlement" comment I made stems from the feeling that every time people complain that more low income housing is needed, they get the alderman's ear and she will get it for them.

    When other people in the ward demand responsible development, she turns her back.

    I don't think my entitlement comment divides the ward - Shiller does that well enough on her own.

  22. What is the difference between staged and organized? This march was organized by a combined effort of ONE and the EZRA center and a few other providers and driven by those who have a need for affordable housing. It was held in the afternoon when a lot of the clients in need of housing are normally receiving services at the different agencies involved. And the Alderman was invited but did not respond. She had nothing to do with it. It was not a specific demand for more affordable housing in Uptown, just more affordable housing period. Most of those in need of a decent place they could rent with their $674 a month in SSI could care less if it were in Uptown or elsewhere as long as it wasn't somewhere completely foreign to them (or a real shithole). People can whine all they want about homeless disabled people feeling entitled to a decent place to live or that they should get a job and take care of themselves (God knows there are sooo many jobs for unskilled labor out there) but this is still America and these guys also have a right to march and take part in the political process. This march also had a lot to do with teaching disenfranchised people how to empower themselves to speak up for their needs. Yeah, maybe to most it was a silly march that won't result in any real change or actions, but it did make those participating feel good about taking part in something important to them and advocating for themselves.

  23. Hey, at least none of the marchers had to take the day off from work to attend!

  24. Miss Kitty- I'm assuming this was a typo "Hey Raych - sorry you feel the need to classify people who do see a need for even more low income housing in the 46th Ward as callous douchebags." and that you meant that I was calling people who don't see a need for more low income housing callous douchebags.

    I get that you're frustrated. But the snarky comments about Mercy Housing residents does come off poorly. Most of them, like TSN stated, don't have the ability to hold a job. Because of that, some of the comments on this post come off as ignorant and yes, callous.

    Go ahead and vent your frustration about Shiller. I get it - she sucks at her job. I don't necessarily disagree with you on that point. But statements like "These people" does create an Us vs. Them mentality and to deny that is to really miss the point.

  25. Reading some of the comments here, its no wonder why I'm not so sure Shiller will lose in the next election. All she has to do is:

    1)Make another flyer with some of these comments

    2)Argue the affluent and "Uptown Update crowd" don't want minority and poor people to have a home in the neighborhood and guess what:

    3)She wins.

    Its a scummy underhanded tactic just like some of your stuck up comments but sadly it works.

    Its a shame safety issues like crime and issues like housing has turning into comments like

    "Just a thought but if they spent time working like most people do at 2 PM in the afternoon maybe they would be able to afford housing..."

    I do believe there is a segment of people who don't want condos or people of means in this place and thats wrong but I believe that there are some of you who post here don't want poor or minority people here period. Everyone, poor or successful has a right here. No one except the criminals should be told to leave.

    You wanna talk about more affordable housing? Fine lets have a respectful debate, otherwise if you wanna make more snarky comments about the poor and disabled: Keep your mouth shut because you got no solutions to offer.

  26. Raych - pick apart the term "these people" as much as you want. I wasn't directing it at Mercy in particular, or any type of person - race, income, blah, blah, blah... but you can think what you want.

    I am pretty damn sick of people demanding more "affordable housing" in Uptown when we already have more than any other ward around us. Its ignorant to think we can handle more.

    And yes, my typo. Thank you Raych for calling us with different opinions callous douchebags. I really appreciate that.

  27. miss kitty, no one was demanding more affordable housing in Uptown, just more affordable housing. And what is wrong with that? Seems a lot of condo owners came to Uptown for the affordable housing as well (and there is nothing wrong with that either).

  28. Miss Kitty- I wasn't calling you, personally a callous douchebag. Re-read the post. What I said was "the other side sounds like callous douchebags." I did not say "are callous douchebags."

    You missed the whole point - which was that making snarky comments don't help - they divide. The things that are said here create a perception of the people who write them.

    Looks like Josh wrote it out a little more eloquently than I did :)

    And just out of curiosity...if you weren't referring to any of the groups you mentioned...then who WERE you referring to?

  29. Raych - I was referring to the numerous groups (good and bad) that demand more and more affordable housing in Uptown all the time. I have nothing against Mercy.

    Sean claims these folks weren't asking for more affordable housing in Uptown. Why then did the hold their rally in Sheridan Park?

    Sean, affordable housing (my, I don't really like using that term as Shiller has bastardized it so much) is definitely needed, but is it ALL needed within the confines of the 46th ward?

  30. miss kitty, the march was held in Uptown for no particular reason other than Uptown is where all the marchers currently call home. Some of them do stay in the shelters here and some are renting housing here but in really crappy buildings like the Men's club or the Foswyn. A large group of participants also came from the Lawrence House and they were calling for better quality housing as well. And no one is saying it all needs to be in Uptown, so lay off it already. But, to be a devils advocate, residents of Uptown have as much right to call for more subsidized housing here as others have to make their political demands.

  31. "Keep your mouth shut because you got no solutions to offer."

    Josh, you really don't GET the concept of a discussion board, do you?

  32. "But, to be a devils advocate, residents of Uptown have as much right to call for more subsidized housing here as others have to make their political demands."

    True, but......isn't Wilson Yard basically providing just that?

  33. "Keep your mouth shut because you got no solutions to offer."

    Since some people can't read, I'll repeat what I said,

    "You wanna talk about more affordable housing? Fine lets have a respectful debate, otherwise if you wanna make more snarky comments about the poor and disabled: Keep your mouth shut because you got no solutions to offer."

  34. Titlting at windmills...

    ...and not ever, ever daring to bite the hand that "feeds" you...

    Clearly it has done soooo much to affect change and bring this community together around common ideals.

    In the infamous words of the great Tim Gunn: "carry on!" But when you are still protesting 10 years hence, don't say that no one ever suggested you might want to consider an alternative approach.

  35. As someone noted, there's an abundance (disproportionately so) of 'affordable' housing and social services here in Uptown.
    And Wilson Yard adds a whole lot more. The big picture, isn't getting any brighter.
    If thriving new, or existing local businesses are an indicative 'pulse' of a neighborhood's health, then Uptown has suffered a stroke.

    More affordable housing?? How about an L-Stop that isn't vomit inducing, or an intersection that doesn't come to a halt due to banging thugs. Now THAT'S a march I'd join.