EIGHTH WARD RESIDENTS PROTEST ALDERMAN BACKED HOUSING PROJECT
5/2/2018, noon | Updated on 5/2/2018, noon
Eighth Ward Residents Protest Alderman Backed Housing Project
BY: KATHERINE NEWMAN
Residents of Chicago’s Eighth Ward recently gathered outside the office of their alderman, Michelle Harris, to protest a new senior housing development, the Montclare Senior Residences of Calumet Heights, that she is pushing for at the corner of 94th St. and Stony Island Avenue.
The protesters gathered on the sidewalk in front of Harris’ office, 8539 S. Cottage Grove Ave., with signs that read, ‘We don’t want it’ in reference to the seven-story, 134-unit housing development for seniors.
“We understand that there is a need for housing seniors in the city, but we were told that this was strictly about the ward. We contend that there is not a need for this in the ward. You can check the senior facilities throughout this ward right now, they have vacancies. Show us the market study and prove that this is needed as [Alderman Harris] has stated. This is about honesty and transparency,” said Marcel Bright, spokesmen for the concerned citizens of the Eighth Ward.
Residents of the Eighth Ward who are in opposition of the project have accused Harris of lacking transparency during the planning of the Montclare Senior Residences of Calumet Heights. They have also accused Harris of avoiding them and denying their invitations to meet and discuss the project.
“Alderman Harris does not listen to the residents. She is supposed to be the voice of the community and she doesn’t listen. We have no voice in city council for the Eighth Ward,” said Linda Hudson, who confirmed that she will be running against Harris in the upcoming aldermanic election.
“Everyone is talking about the Obama Library and that particular area of Stony Island would be the gateway. Why would we want a low-income senior housing facility right there?”
A common theme during the protest was that many people believe these 5 acres of vacant land would be better utilized as commercial space for businesses and restaurants, not housing.
“I find it curious that opponents of much-needed, affordable senior living continue to spread misinformation about Montclare Senior Residences of Calumet Heights. Throughout this transparent process, I and my staff have made clear through press releases, newsletters, at community meetings and on social media that Montclare will be a mix of rental assistance units with market-rate apartments for independent seniors, 62-years-old and above, it is not a low-income senior housing venture and all incomes are welcome,” said Harris in a written statement regarding the protest. “Additionally, the number of floors in the proposed building is in line with a number of other multi-floor residences in the Eighth Ward. As alderman, I will continue to fight to provide for our seniors and, frankly, I question the motivations of any campaign against a direly needed resource for aging residents, who always face a need for good, safe, affordable housing options on the South Side of Chicago,” she added.