Community group, West Side residents rally against copious vacant lots

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The Sweet Home Chicago coalition and Action Now held a rally June 17 in the 1300 block of South Kedvale, pushing for a city council ordinance to fund new housing throughout Chicago.

The Sweet Home Chicago coalition and Action Now held a rally June 17 in the 1300 block of South Kedvale, pushing for a city council ordinance to fund new housing throughout Chicago.

Only one house remains on an otherwise vacant lot on the West Side street where the rally was held. Katie Brown, an 84-year-old retiree who lives near there, told the Defender she was rallying to get those plots filled and for affordable housing for the Lawndale community and throughout city.

“We want to get places filled in all over the city. There’s a lot of stuff coming for foreclosures and it’s not helping the city because they can’t collect tax off of it. And it’s not that the city doesn’t have money to work with, it’s just not coming to our region,” said Brown.

Under the Sweet Home Chicago Ordinance the community service organization hopes gets passed, the city would dedicate 20 percent of Tax Increment Financing funds to home development and the rehab of foreclosed houses and multi-unit apartment buildings in neighborhoods across the city.

So far 22 alderman and 51 organizations have endorsed the ordinance supported by a campaign led by nine community organizations and three labor unions.

Aldermen Sharon Denise Dixon (24th), Walter Burnett (27th) – lead sponsor of the ordinace – and Toni Foulkes (15th), co-sponsor of the ordinance, participated in the rally.

The City Council’s Housing and Finance Committees are scheduled to hold hearings July 7 to consider the ordinance.

Brown said if the ordinance isn’t approved the rallies will continue.

“Because if we as a people don’t do anything to help ourselves we can’t expect others to do anything for us,” she said.  

 Copyright 2010 Chicago Defender.

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