Maggie 2019 Releases Video Detailing the Rapid Demolition of Affordable Rentals for 40th Ward Families

Calling attention to the ongoing crisis of disappearing affordable housing across our communities, Maggie 2019 released a new video outlining the steps she’d take to stem the tide. Maggie joined Michael Babcock, an urban planning expert in affordable housing, for a walking tour of the 40th Ward. You can watch their tour and video discussion here.

“Two-to-flat buildings - an affordable go-to rental option for 40th Ward families - are disappearing at an astonishing rate. Once these units are lost to conversions or demolitions for single family homes, they can never be replaced. As your alderman, I'll make sure that the families and senior citizens who helped build our community can continue to afford to live here,” said Maggie.

In the 40th Ward, 139 units have been lost from multi-family buildings down to single family homes since 2006. Due to zoning restrictions, once these units are lost to conversions or demolitions, they can never be replaced. And increasingly, renters are getting kicked out of our community as owners are forced to sell their flats. 

To assist 40th Ward families, Maggie will enact community zoning reform, advocate for property tax relief and additional subsidies and programs for homeowners, and vote for the Development for All Ordinance.

The full text of the video is below:

Maggie: Two- to four-flats form the backbone of affordable housing for families across our city. But they are disappearing. Torn down to build single family homes or larger and more expensive condo rentals. I got a chance to go on a tour with Michael Babcock, an urban planning expert in affordable housing.

Michael: So, this block here alone has already seen seven of these conversions or demolitions in the last several years. And it kind of is terrible because these people are not eligible for traditional housing subsidies and assistance, but they are still vulnerable to traditional market forces, leading them to sell-out, have to convert their homes, something along those lines in order to be able to afford to live on this block.

In the 40th Ward, we've already seen 139 units lost from multi-family buildings down to single family homes, and that's occurred since 2006. But the problem is that 60% of the ward is zoned to allow only single-family homes. So once these units are lost to a conversion or a demolition, they can never be replaced. We're effectively losing this housing that is affordable to all families in the ward.

Maggie: And so, what is our local government doing to stem this loss of two-to-four flat conversions?

Michael: Well, the City has their Five-Year Preservation Plan, which is meant to help homeowners. In addition, there are energy assistance programs, but really, we can do a lot more. Energy assistance, you know, will help you out with some utility bills and things, but how do we really make sure that this housing stays affordable for families in the community. So there really is a lot more that we can do.

Maggie: When I'm in City Council, we will enact community zoning reform and advocate for property tax relief. I'll vote for the Development for All ordinance. And we will work together as a community to make sure that the families and senior citizens who helped build the 40th Ward can continue to afford to live here. Be on the lookout for a follow-up video with Michael about how our small businesses suffer from lack of housing options.

Maggie Okeefe