Plan to preserve affordable housing near proposed Obama Presidential Center unveiled

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The City of Chicago released a plan to preserve affordable housing for residents living near the proposed Obama Presidential Center in the Woodlawn neighborhood.

On Tuesday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot sent a letter to residents near Jackson Park who are concerned that they will be priced out of their homes. It included details about new tenant protections, turning city-owned vacant lots into affordable housing, enhanced local hiring requirements and supporting and expanding homeownership opportunities.

That was one of the things we heard is that we have to get some things in writing," said Anthony Simpkins, managing deputy commissioner of Chicago's Department of Housing. "The benefit for the city of Chicago is that we have a growing, thriving Woodlawn neighborhood and that's a benefit to everyone in Chicago."

Lifelong Woodlawn resident Venus Scott was among the first to hear details of the ordinance.

"It not only affects my children and my childrens' children, it affects me and it affects my mother who is elderly," Scott said.

Scott was part of a working group that helped the city hone concerns into solutions. While she would like to see more new affordable housing added, she is encouraged to see what's included.

"I'm hopeful, I have to be," Scott said. "But the proof is in the pudding, so we'll see."

The Department of Housing will continue taking input on the proposal including an ability to offer feedback online. A final version of the ordinance is expected to be presented to City Council sometime this year.

Anyone wishing to offer their input on the proposal is encouraged to email their comments to DOH@cityofchicago.org.
Copyright © 2020 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.