With south side residents in danger of being displaced from escalating rents, the Obama Presidential Center appears to be drastically increasing gentrification and speculation. That’s why the Community Benefits Agreement Coalition, has been working with allied organizations to get a binding community benefits agreement to protect the residents of Woodlawn, Washington Park and South Shore. KOCO, South side Together Organizing for Power (STOP), Not Me, We and UCAD are the founding member organizations. The focus is getting a CBA for South Shore.

What We are Facing
With the increase of land values, opportunistic developers and investors are making housing unaffordable and putting longtime residents at risk. Last year, 32% of properties were bought in South Shore by profit-driven investors, a 15% increase since the Obama Center was announced in 2015.

A Sad Reality: Being Forced Out of Our Homes
A recent example of what we are up against is Catalyst Realty, which left tenants without heat for a month in the winter and forced them into unaffordable apartments.

Why a Community Benefits Agreement?
While we understand there are benefits of the Obama Center, a CBA will protect the people of South Shore keeping housing costs down, stopping unfair evictions and ensuring that longtime residents aren’t forced out by high rents and property taxes. The CBA would also provide funding for home repairs, relief from high taxes, measures to prevent evictions and a ban on unfair fees.

Overwhelming Support
Recently, 88% of South Shore community members voted in favor of a CBA in a non-binding ballot question.

Holding Our Representatives Accountable
Alderman Desmon Yancy has pledged to introduce the CBA ordinance to the City Council. The community reminded him this past month when they came together to share stories of being forced out and demanded unwavering support for the CBA.

What are We Asking For?
We propose a set of specific benefits that will address the needs of South Shore residents:

1. Preserve city-owned vacant lots for the development of affordable housing.
2. Reserve 60% of new housing for extremely low-income households.
3. Convert new developments into public housing.
4. Invest in rent assistance, home rehabilitation loans and homeownership initiatives.

To learn more, go to obamacba.org.

We Must Move Quickly
While efforts have been made to preserve affordable housing in neighboring Woodlawn, South Shore remains vulnerable. Investors have already bought 32% of homes in the community, more than any other neighborhood in the city. To join the fight against displacement, email us at info@nullkocoonline.org, or call (773) 548-7500.