In the Dec. 1 Wednesday Journal, an article announcing the formation of Oak Park Citizen’s for Inclusionary Housing missed the point on the issues involved in the Madison Street housing proposal [Group forms against Oak Park apartment project, News, Dec. 1]. Yes, we are concerned about safety and security at the proposed facility, but that is only the tip of the iceberg on why the project needs serious review before any further steps are taken.
The 10 points below spell out why we believe the project is ill-advised.
The plan proposes supportive housing defined by HUD as individuals and families who are homeless, at risk of homelessness and/or have disabilities, and who require access to supportive services in order to maintain housing.
Multiple zoning variances are being requested, including the addition of two stories to the building and major parking concessions on the part of the village.
The plan is for 51 units of housing for singles, some with children. It is not housing for families.
Cook County data shows a high level of mental disease, drug and alcohol addiction, and HIV among residents in these types of facilities. Security will only be present during business hours, increasing the risk for the residents and community.
Forty-nine communities in Illinois have been mandated to develop plans for affordable housing. Oak Park was exempt because we already have sufficient affordable housing as it relates to other communities.
Sixty-one percent of residents in a five-block radius surveyed by Neighbors for Madison Renewal were against the project. Only 20 percent favored the project.
The village will not own the facility. Private investors subsidized by HUD will pay for construction.
Property tax receipts from public housing will likely be significantly lower than a commercial building.
The village government and its partners have not done a study on the financial, cultural, security and social impact of the project.
There are more than 100 single rooms already available in Oak Park right now!
Oak Park needs to think of its past (side-by-side living) and envision its future (exclusionary, institutional-style housing) and make a choice on whether Oak Park wants to continue its control of public housing or turn the responsibility over to banks, investment companies, and the federal and state governments.
Oak Park Citizens for Inclusionary Housing