The Chicago City Council has a remarkable opportunity to rebuild our communities by enacting the Keep Chicago Renting Ordinance. This ordinance will reduce crime, stabilize our neighborhoods and support working families by keeping them in their own residences instead of being evicted when properties are foreclosed.
The city of Chicago has been devastated by the foreclosure crisis. Over the past three years, 51,972 rental units have been evicted or foreclosed on. It is estimated that Chicago has 15,000 vacant properties and abandoned buildings, which have become a major scourge in our city. There are a growing number of multi-unit buildings that are now going into foreclosure. Even though tenants have been paying their rent on time they are being systematically evicted from their homes.
This crisis affects working-class families across our city, including many of those represented by our unions and who perform vital functions that make the city work. Now is the time when working families need the City Council to act in the public interest. Large banks have shown no willingness or offered any plans to deal with the scores of vacant and abandoned buildings that remain empty and blight the city. This ordinance simply incentivizes banks to take responsibility for their properties, keeps people in their own homes and compensates families who are being displaced through no fault of their own.
Vacant properties enable a host of problems that deplete city resources, including vandalism, gang activity, drug and gun trafficking, prostitution, sexual assaults, not to mention fires in abandoned buildings. Abandoned buildings devastate and depreciate property values across an entire community, which creates a vicious feedback loop further eroding home values for other working and middle-class families and effectively robbing them of whatever savings they have left.
In order for our local economy to ever recover from the collapse of the housing market and resulting recession, we simply must end this vicious downward spiral by keeping residents renting in their own residences, instead of being evicted.
We strongly urge the City Council to take action on behalf of the Chicago’s residents by enacting this ordinance to keep Chicagoans renting.
— Keith Kelleher, president, SEIU Healthcare Illinois
— Henry Bayer, executive director, AFSCME Council 31
— Karen Lewis, president, Chicago Teachers Union
— Tom Ryan, president, Chicago Fire Department Firefighters Union - Local 2