The Crusader Newspaper Group

South Shore and Woodlawn voters overwhelmingly call for city housing protections

Voters in South Shore and Woodlawn voted overwhelmingly in favor of two ballot referendums calling for immediate action by the mayor and the local alderperson to address housing affordability and mitigate displacement near the Obama Center.

The Obama CBA Coalition successfully placed two referendums on the ballot in nine 5th Ward precincts in South Shore and two 5th Ward precincts in Woodlawn, with the South Shore referendum calling for eviction protections and rental assistance, city funding for home repairs and mortgage assistance, and development of affordable housing on vacant city-owned lots, and 75% real affordable housing on a vacant city owned lot on 63rd and Blackstone. The South Shore referendum passed with 88% of the vote across all precincts, sending a strong, clear message of community support. Similarly in Woodlawn, the referendum on 63rd and Blackstone passed with 97% and 85% of the vote.

The results reflect the demand of South Shore and Woodlawn residents for their elected officials to address the urgent housing needs near the Obama Center – which outgoing Mayor Lori Lightfoot and outgoing 5th Ward alderperson Leslie Hairston refused to do, cutting South Shore out of the Woodlawn housing ordinance passed in 2020. As the 5th Ward aldermanic and mayoral races head into a run-off, the Obama CBA Coalition fully expects the next mayor and alderperson to act swiftly to address these issues and will continue to organize to hold new leadership accountable to the will of voters. Both candidates in the 5th Ward aldermanic run-off – Desmon Yancy and Martina “Tina” Hone – have committed to passing a CBA housing ordinance for South Shore.

“South Shore voters have sent a clear message that they want their alderperson to fight for City protections that address rising housing costs and mitigate displacement in our neighborhood,” said Dixon Romeo, Executive Director of Not Me We, a member organization of the Obama CBA Coalition. “Many people are already being priced out of South Shore by real estate speculation around the Center and many others fear it will happen to them. Residents want the City to do something about it and our coalition won’t stop until it gets done.”

“Despite winning the Woodlawn Housing Preservation Ordinance three years ago, we have continued to have to fight with the City to get it to set aside the vacant lots it committed to developing with affordable housing,” said Alex Goldenberg, Executive Director of Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP). “Voters have now loudly called for the City to follow through on its commitment to Woodlawn residents and to develop affordable housing at 63rd and Blackstone. We plan to hold the City accountable to building it.”

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