Tenants protest rent increase

April 21, 2009 (CHICAGO) Midway Garden apartment tenants protest the sudden rent increase of 30 percent at their apartment building located on East 60th Street and South Cottage Grove Ave.

A notice was placed in the lobby telling all tenants that they must pay a $200 rent increase or vacate. This started a mass exodus.

Now the majority of the remaining tenants are senior citizens, elderly with handicaps or single working mothers.

"I think it's terrible, this increase in the rent. I think it's terrible. It's too much," said Laura Cunningham, Midway Garden tenant.

Many have lived in the building for decades including 101-year-old Mable Truitt.

"If I don't pay it they'll evict me," said Truitt.

"It is going to make some people homeless. It has already snatched children out of school," said Alvina Broussard, Midway Garden tenant.

The building was built in 1953 and is owned by the Chicago Dwellings Association, a private corporation.

Tenants complain the building has not been maintained.

Cora Washington allowed ABC7 into her apartment and showed us repairs that have not been made.

"Rats and mice come up through the elevators and they take over. I need to be here because my hospital is a block away," said Annette Thomas, Midway Gardens tenant.

Alderman Willie Cochran has met with managements in hopes of helping the tenants.

"The management has requested they stagger the rent increases or delay the rent increases," said Karin Norington-Reaves, chief of staff, Alderman Cochran.

The remaining tenants say the apartment complex is more than a home. It is a community of people who look out for each other and they will miss it if they have to leave.

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