On April 29, 2006, the
Hyde Park-Kenwood Interfaith Open Communities (IOC/HPO) and the Older Women's
League (OWL) convened a community meeting to address the changing housing
needs of the Hyde Park and South Kenwood communities. The meeting called for
long term solutions to address the rising cost of housing and the displacement
of long time residents due to lack of affordable housing.
A task force was created
at the April 29 meeting with the charge to research forming a community development
organization and to report back on a recommended course of action. This task
force explored various options for addressing the community's needs, holding
meetings with community leaders and three experienced professionals representing
three different types of community organizations: 1) Quad Communities Development
Corp., a community organization concerned with planning and promoting economic
development, 2) Genesis Development Corp., a community-based nonprofit developer
of affordable housing, and 3) Lakeview Action Coalition, a local community
organization involved with multiple issues, including housing.
The task force has also
consulted with a number of individuals and entities, including, the local
aldermen (4th and 5th wards), the University fo Chicago, the South East Chicago
Commission, the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, the HydePark-Kenwood
Interfaith Council, and the Kenwood Community Conservation Council. The task
force received positive feedback from all these entities.
It was the strong sense
of the task force that the time was right to encourage the creation of a Hyde
Park and South Kenwood community-based organization in order to address affordable
housing and related concerns of the neighborhood. The reason for including
"related concerns" was to allow alliances with other community groups
and broaden the base of support.
[Distributed as part
of this paper: the Task Force Recommendations, the meeting agenda, and the
list of sponsors. Note: other organizations were present and, along with the
attendees, signed up signed on the green cards for participation in the task
as of the convening of the summit:
- Hyde Park Cluster,
Interfaith Open Communities (IOC)
- Hyde Park Older Women's
- Hyde Park-Kenwood
- Hyde Park Chamber
- University of Chicago,
Office of Community Affairs
- Racial Justice Task
Force, First Unitarian Church of Chicago
on the meeting, by Gary Ossewaarde
Ken Oliver, Executive
Director, Interfaith Open Communities-Hyde Park Kenwood (IOC) moderated. About
Pat Wilcoxen, Program
Director, IOC gave brief background, including that since the previous forum
the task force talked with experts in research, advocacy and service organizations
and potential sponsors. She said further networking is needed and that diversity
is the operative word.
Introductions: spokespersons for the sponsoring organizations:
- Older Women's League
(OWL): Joan Staples. She stressed problems of seniors being able to stay
in the neighborhood and walk in their housing and the neighborhood and the
need to have alternatives and affordability.
- Hyde Park-Kenwood
Community Conference (HPKCC): Gary Ossewaarde, Secretary. He said the conference
is pleased this is going forward and urged a real organization that wil
act upon and not just debate the issues. Board member Vicki Suchovsky also
represented the Conference.
- Hyde Park Chamber
of Commerce: Lenora Austin. She noted that several of the Chamber's business
member are already involved in housing matters.
- Office of Community
Affairs, University of Chicago: Michele Olson of the Community Service Center.
She noted increasing engagement on housing by the University. Programs,
including the rehabbing pool, are likely to be geographically expanded including
into Hyde Park.
- Racial Justice Task
Force, First Unitarian Church of Chicago.
John McDermott delivered the keynote address on "Neighborhoods Addressing the
Housing Issue." McDermott grew up in Hyde Park [son of a respected
journalist]. He was the affordable housing organizer for many years in Lakeview
Action Council (LAC) and currently occupies a similar position in the Logan
Square Neighborhood Association.
McDermott discussed the
trajectory of issues, conflicts and successes in Lakeview, a neighborhood
on a gentrification curve and in some ways similar to Hyde Park, and where
there was also strong support for diversity and strong developer pressure,
and also many service organizations. Lakeview also found they needed a group
focusing on the housing issue but reaching out to many existing groups to
whom housing was one but not a main concern and who could become allies and
bring in many residents to bring presence or pressure to bear on the climate
and on particular sites with problems or opportunities. They had to start
almost on a one to one basis, listening to people and gaining their confidence
and building that of residents. This was also important for finding and educating
future leaders. In the process, LAC found it had to take an interest in a
whole range of issues in order to make progress on housing and they had to
develop ways to keep their noses to the ground and become very agile.
The Lakeview organizers
found it took these relationships, sometimes confronting contrary older relationships
and interests, as well as a good fight or two to change the mood and assumptions.
They also found they could provide some specific spaces where people of low
affordability could sustainably live, but that ultimately the gentrification
has continued there towards an ultimate consolidation. (Developers keep finding
new devices and leverage, such as buildouts. And McDermott noted that many
businesses as well as residents have been priced out.) LAC nevertheless continues
to be a strong force respected by residents of the varied income levels (people
often saying "you were right") and is now present at the table of
community decision making. A couple of fights were important, such as the
alliance with a church to turn a convent into housing for transitioning women,
Deborah's Place. The fight was with what McDermott characterized as an entrenched,
interest-connected and closed-minded but ultimately over-confident then-alderman
and the self-perpetuating rubber stamp community organization that was in
McDermott said Hyde Park
seems to be losing its stability and developers gaining a freer hand. This
will accelerate, he predicted, with the Olympics sign post and the march of
development from the north.
He advised that the Hyde
Park organization work for real results if it is to gain strength and involvement
and attract leaders so it can be a catalyst for the kind of community we want.
The organization will have to gain a size and scale as well as prominence
if it is to be taken seriously.
He said we must invite
nonprofit development corporations to look at the area, especially for creation
of supportive and senior housing--and they will, having found out that geographically-restricted
program concentration doesn't work.
Another key is to be
vigilant and ready to seize opportunities and to do "issue organizing"--to
"move". He cited a "done deal" in Lakeview where a request
for proposals was being issued and already had 60 responses. The right call
to the right person at HUD created a 3-day window to submit an alternative--which
they could do only because they had a battery of experts and help they could
tap on the spur of the moment. The RFP was pulled, and successful supportive
housing was created and been very successful the past 15 years. Advocacy with
civic partnerships can lead to successful action and solutions.
The organization may
have to step in to counter or break up established comfortable relationships
and closed-leadership decision-making.
Steven Flowers, task force member and for IOC presented the Task Force
The Report consisted
- Background (what the
April 29, 2006 community meeting mandated, the activities of the Task Force
since, and conclusion: "the time was right to encourage the creation
of a Hyde Park and south Kenwood community-based organization in order to
address affordable housing and related concerns of the neighborhood. The
reason for including "related concerns" was to allow alliances
with other community groups and broaden the base of support."
- Recommendations (in
the form of a resolution):
- A new community
organization be established whose purpose is to convene residents, congregations,
organizations and businesses to plan, guide, support, and monitor housing
and community activities that will create a sustainable, healthy, mixed
income community of Hyde Park-Kenwood.
- That the Task
Force convened last year be renewed and expanded to include representatives
from community organizations that support this mission who will work
to create this new organization.
- That a community
convention be called later this year to inaugurate the new organization.
Flowers and Wilcoxen
said they want the Task Force to include the various faith communities
and for the late-year meeting (October being most likely) to be a large
one. They also said they are well aware that the University of Chicago
is the main player--the University of Chicago will be asked to be a partner
and provide help, actions.
After extended public
comments on housing experiences and needs, and what people would like an
organization to do, Joan Staples moved the recommendations, which received
numerous seconds. She invited comment on wording, saying the Task Force
is concerned that common terms such as "mixed income" and "affordable"
are imprecise and mean different things to different people and intends
to define precisely what is sought.
Sam Ackerman moved
that the phrase "mixed income" be removed from the resolution
and that the words "open to residents at all income levels" be
appended after "community of Hyde Park-Kenwood" at the end. The
amendment was approved without dissent.
were moved as amended and unanimously approved. Lead conveners promised
concrete proposals for the fall.
reported on the Set Aside Ordinance passed at a special Monday 8 am meeting
that week. She said it will only apply to city-owned land, planned developments,
and upzoning. The number of set asides or equivalent is too low (10%) and
the income level ($75,000 for family of four) that defines the price at
which the affordable units will be offered ($225,000) is way too high and
will help few on the South Side.
Rachel Israel comments
that people are "steered" into taking public rental subsidy rather
than buying for years, and often have to slip landlords extra, then are
suddenly told to vacate because the building is going condo. She showed
that this is happening in Hyde Park. Other also said they were just given
notices to vacate for condo conversion in Hyde Park. Also noted is that
millions in rent-subsidy funds are now being investigated for going missing
from HUD or paid for rehabilitations that are never done.
Another asked about
how the former LIPRA program can be restored. That enabled renters of HUD-subsidized
buildings to buy out and go cooperative at the end of a term of years. Many
at the meeting indicated they are renters. They said all must stand together
and work the phones to office holders and agencies.
Another said she grew
up in Hyde Park but fear she cannot continue to raise her family here or
the children cannot. She said we need an ongoing organization.
Joe Kelly said that
people with mental health issues especially have problems finding and keeping
housing. He touted community housing.
Sam Ackerman called
attention to various kinds of formal and informal house sharing. He said
there are two major needs: To advocate and influence direction, and to provide
tangible support for people caught up in the disappearance of affordable
He commented that Hyde Park is organized to death--what will be special
about this organization that can't be done by existing organizations and
will justify investment of people's time? Pat Wilcoxen said this will be
the only one giving full and sole focus to housing and so grow and become
a community wide force. It's about broadening the base. She said the task
force and public meeting will have to decide whether the group is going
to provide services.
L. Rosenbloom of OWL
and First Unitarian focused on the aging of congregations and how this problem
of supporting the buildings and work of congregations will get worse if
seniors can't stay here. We have to band together.
Mr. Richardson of the
Grove Parc residents association (east side of Cottage Grove south of 61st)
gave background and said the residents will likely be kicked out if they
don't get help to save about half the units without the problem tenants.
Organizing is hard and there has not been the help from local organizations
and the University. He expressed gratitude for UC students' help, such as
Lara Luah (?) asked
for updates on the real impacts of the set aside ordinances. McDermott gave
details on what it does and flaws he identified.
Someone living near
54th and Ellis described resources available from the University Community
Service Center (773 753-4483) , the documentary they did on the impacts
of the University on surrounding neighborhoods, and a blog on Grove Parc
After passage of the
Task Force resolutions, and encouragement to fill in the green contact cards,
the meeting was adjourned.
Contacts to join the
task force: John
Murphy at 459-4082 or Pat Wilcoxen at 643-7495.
on the May 19 summit- Groups vote unanimously to create housing committee
May 23, 2007. By
groups and residents of Hyde Park and Kenwood voted May 19 to create a
committee to support affordable housing in the area.
Members of the Interfaith
Open Communities (IOC), an organization known for addressing local concerts,
met with other community organizers and local residents to discuss ways
to create and sustain affordable housing for current long-term residents.
They then approved unanimously to create a housing committee that supports
affordable housing to residents of all income levels.
Although Mayor Richard
M. Daley recently passed a housing ordinance that required 10 percent
of planned housing developments be set aside for affordable housing for
a household of four earning $75,000 annual income, IOC members said more
would need to be done to keep affordable housing in a consistently changing
area like Hyde Park and Kenwood.
Hyde Park resident
John McDermott said that Hyde Park might face housing problems if the
Olympics are placed in Washington Park in 2016 and the South Loop continues
to stretch into Douglas, with new business and housing developments.
up that while city officials are hoping the Olympics will produce revenue
for the city as a whole, businesses and residents who may be affected
by the Games' arrival, mainly in Kenwood and Hyde Park, are concerned
about losing land to gentrification. He wondered what benefits Hyde Park
will reap by the Olympics' popularity, particularly in housing.
"Hyde Park might
be facing a whole new set of problems," McDermott said.
creating a committee to supervise options for affordable housing, some
attendees asked why this new committee could not be an extension of the
Interfaith Open Communities. "We want to broaden the base as much
as possible," said organizer Pat Wilcoxen, adding that the new committee
is intended to be an organization of organizations and not just linked
to one group.
Ken Oliver, the meeting
moderator and IOC's executive director, said the next step is to add people
to the housing committed and inaugurate the group by the fall. "We'll
be looking to [add] a convention this fall, maybe October," Oliver