Coalition of black activist groups put up temporary tent city to demand more affordable housing in Woodlawn

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Several black activist groups are rallying in Woodlawn to demand that the city of Chicago invest in more affordable housing.

Protesters put up tents in an empty city lot in the South Side neighborhood Thursday. The temporary tent city is intended to send a specific message to City Hall.

"Here to ask Mayor Lightfoot to remember the black community in Woodlawn and provide for us affordable housing," said Ebonee Green, an organizing member of the Obama CBA Coalition.

They're renewing demands to protect the identity of their community, and the incomes of the people who live there.

"What we're asking is that 75% of these empty lots be allocated for affordable housing," Green said

"People are at risk of being displaced by the Obama center coming to the South Side," said Parrish Brown, of the Black Youth Project 100. "Increasing the rents and property taxes of people that live here, people that are at risk of being displaced by rising gentrification."

Brown said some people who were born and raised in the community have to find new places to live because the rents are rising.

"If you're spending 40% of your income to live somewhere, how sustainable is that?" Brown asked.

The temporary campground set up is a sort of territorial marking.

"It's because of systemic racism that this lot remains vacant and is not developed for affordable housing," Brown said. "Our mayor has turned her back on our community."

Now they're demanding that the city rework its budget.

"We spend 40% of our entire budget on policing.. That's $4.4 million a day," Brown said. "So imagine if we took $4.4 mil and reinvested it in affordable housing."

They want a community benefits agreement that allows people who developed Woodlawn to stay there, adffordably.

The Chicago Department of Housing told ABC7 that they are committed to working with both the Obama Presidential Center and the community to make sure that a proper amount of affordable housing is maintained in the area.
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