Over 200 Chicagoans gather to show support for affordable housing and mental health care at ONE Northside’s “Chicago For All” forum
Hundreds of residents of Chicago’s northern neighborhoods packed North Shore Baptist Church on Sunday, August 27 to hear personal stories about the urgent need to win Bring Chicago Home and Treatment Not Trauma. Organized by ONE Northside and ONE People’s Campaign, the “Chicago For All” event was a town hall that welcomed community members to learn more about these proposed solutions for increasing affordable housing and access to mental health care. Alderman Andre Vasquez (40th Ward), Alderman Matt Martin (47th Ward), and Alderwoman Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth (48th Ward) joined the event, answered questions that had been submitted from registrants beforehand, and spoke about their priorities as elected officials. As the crowd cheered, all three committed to voting for both Bring Chicago Home and Treatment Not Trauma.
Alderman Martin is a co-sponsor of the Bring Chicago Home ordinance, and described his reasons for supporting it. “What we are working to do is to make sure that regardless of your background, regardless of your income, that you can live a life of dignity and abundance,” he said. “And that happens when you have a home that you can afford. …And in a city that has what it needs to provide that, we’re asking the organizations that continue to do very well to pay their fair share.”
Grassroots leader on the housing justice team Anthony J. Perkins shared his own story of homelessness, and how after many years he had finally found an affordable apartment in Rogers Park. “In February I learned our rent would be going up $450 [per month]… I was horrified of being homeless again,” he said. “We need the city to step up, start keeping promises, start housing people, and pass Bring Chicago Home.”
Mental health justice leader Mia Sostrin led the crowd in a chant of “We can do better!” as the meeting shifted focus on Treatment Not Trauma. They asked Alderman Vasquez how the proposed measure can help everyday Chicagoans facing mental health crises. “People think punitive measures and the carceral system create solutions,” he responded. “But after all these decades of spending and work, we have not solved it…. We have to reimagine public safety.” Treatment Not Trauma would reopen the public mental health clinics operated by the Department of Public Health and would send mental health professionals and an EMT, rather than police, to people in mental health crisis.
Take action with ONE Northside to get Bring Chicago Home and Treatment Not Trauma across the finish line this year! Fill out our Get Involved form to have an organizer get in touch with you about ways that you can help.