Bronzeville Residents Push for Affordable Housing

July 24, 2007

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Some residents of a hot South Side neighborhood want to make sure more city-owned vacant lots there are used for affordable housing. They're crafting a ballot referendum that would require 25 percent of new developments to include housing for moderate-income families.

Chicago Public Radio's Natalie Moore reports.

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Arthur Brown and Valencia Hardy didn't sleep last night.
They and other volunteers from Housing Bronzeville spent the wee hours putting up yard signs on some 2,000 city-owned vacant lots.

Hardy says she worries the lots will go to developers building luxury homes and could leave out long-time residents.

HARDY: They were the stabilizing factor in this neighborhood and they should be able to stay here and not worry about being priced out.

Organizers want people in Bronzeville to vote on a measure next year to create a housing trust fund. It would help pay for more affordable housing.

This morning they passed out flyers on 39th and Wabash near a huge swath of empty land.

A spokesperson from the city's planning department didn't dispute the number of city-owned lots in Bronzeville, but added that the city already has a commitment to preserve affordable housing.

I'm Natalie Moore, Chicago Public Radio.