Housing Justice

Fighting for safe, affordable housing so our neighborhoods can thrive.

a smiling family in orange shirts with a sign that says SRO team

What We Believe

We believe that housing is a human right. We need to hold developers and our government accountable to fund affordable housing and regulate the market to put people over profit. Through our work, we seek to halt the increasing economic and racial segregation in Chicago that results from gentrification. We believe that preserving and maintaining affordable housing is an investment in our communities that will allow working-class people, seniors, people with disabilities, people of color, LGBTQ people, and people with limited access to resources to remain in their homes and communities. We fight for the preservation of Single Room Occupancy buildings (SROs) and other naturally-occurring affordable housing in the North Side of Chicago; for tenant protections; for access and expansion of public housing for homeless and unstably housed people; and for family-sized affordable housing in new developments in our communities.

What We Will Do.

We will protect renters by:

  • Continuing our Tenant Rights & Organizing infrastructure by educating our neighbors about the eviction process and their rights under the Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance and working to eliminate barriers to rental assistance.

  • Continuing to support the Lift the Ban Coalition through aggressive base building, in order to increase people power, and fight for tenant protections, such as Right to Counsel, Just Cause Evictions, and more.

  • Building power around our demand that the Federal Government act on the rent gouging that is taking place across the nation by:

    • Demanding that President Biden pass an executive order on rent regulations.

    • Working towards an office of Tenant Protections through the Consumer Financial Protections Bureau.

We will increase affordable housing by:

  • Creating a process for approving new developments and zoning changes within the 46th Ward that centers community involvement, equity, and affordability, and will push for the new alder of 46 to adopt this process once they take office.

  • Mobilizing our base to support proposed affordable developments or push back against proposed luxury developments, such as the current campaign against luxury development at Weiss Hospital.

  • Requiring the City of Chicago to have an equitable and transparent affordable housing wait list website, which includes a CHA housing waitlist and another list of private buildings or units that receive funds from the city.

  • Building political support for a dedicated funding stream for homelessness prevention, new affordable housing, and the preservation of Single Room Occupancy Hotels (SROs) by increasing the Real Estate Transfer Tax and securing resources through the city budget process via the Bring Chicago Home Campaign.

We will protect and preserve SROs by:

  • Ensuring 3 SROs apply to the SRO preservation loan program and receive funding for rehabilitation and are guaranteed to remain affordable.
  • Advocating for increased funding for SRO preservation in the 2023 budget.
  • Ensuring City Council passes the resolution to put Bring Chicago Home on the ballot in March 2024.

What We Have Done

Our work in housing justice organizing stretches back a decade (and beyond when including the legacy of our predecessor organizations LAC and ONE!) so here are just a few recent victories:

  • Won additional housing and relocation benefits for residents of Wilson Men’s Hotel (WMH). WMH was sold to a developer in summer 2017. The tenant association organized so no one had to move out until August 2018, people received additional funds to move, and 25 preserved units when the building is redeveloped. This benefited over 150 low income men. The developer paid out at least $600,000 in forgiven back rent, moving support for tenants and the settlement with the tenant.

  • Won ballot referendum in the 46th ward of Chicago supporting rent control on November 6, 2018. ONE Northside leaders collected over 2,000 signatures to place the question on the ballot in the gentrifying community. Leaders mobilized voters and the referendum won with 70.56% of the voters in support.

  • Won $5 million for single room occupancy building (SRO) maintenance and preservation in the November 2021 city budget. This means that building owners can maintain and improve their buildings without turning to large developers and tenants don’t have to fear relocating. The result of years of organizing by the SRO team, this is crucial funding will improve the conditions of SROs right now and preserve those units as affordable for the next 30 years.

Ready To Get Involved?

Affordable housing