My name is Rev. Bruce Ray. I am pastor of Kimball Avenue Church and a founding member of the Logan Square Ecumenical Alliance. I am opposed to the Lathrop Home Planned Development application, and I am pleading with you to delay a decision about the application.
I am opposed to the application for the following reasons:
The plan eliminates 525 units of public housing for low-income families, while creating almost 500 units of housing for the wealthy. This is nothing less than taxpayer funded, city-sponsored gentrification.
In a letter sent yesterday to Alderman Joe Moreno, the Chicago Housing Authority called Lathrop an “isolated low-income area surrounded by one of the more vibrant and diverse neighborhoods on the north side”; in other words, the CHA views Lathrop Homes as “an island of poverty” at the western edge of Lincoln Park. But since low-income families have NO other options for housing in Lincoln Park to the East and gentrifying Logan Square to the West, Lathrop Homes is better described as “an island of affordability”. Approving this application will actually push low-income families out of what the CHA calls “an Opportunity Area”—the very area where they say they want low-income families to live! In addition, while the CHA calls the surrounding neighborhood “diverse,” the 2010 census data indicates that Lincoln Park is one of the least diverse neighborhoods in Chicago—both economically and racially. Approving this application will result in even less diversity. This is nothing less than taxpayer funded, city-sponsored re-segregation of the north side
In this same letter, the CHA said it is “committed to producing 525 new housing opportunities on the north side.” However, the letter did not include a timeline for replacement. In their words, “timing will be based on the availability and price of properties.” We all know that there are few available properties and that the cost for properties is high on the north side. The CHA’s commitment will quickly become, “We tried!” And those 525 units will be lost.
There is a Proverb from the Bible, “Do not move an ancient boundary stone or encroach on the fields of fatherless.” Approving this application effectively moves the boundaries, allowing those with wealth to encroach on the land set aside by the government to ensure that low-income families had safe affordable housing on the north side. The Proverb ends this way: “Their Defender is strong, and he will take up their case—AGAINST YOU.”
Before you approve the Lathrop Homes application, you will have to decide “whose side you are on.”