• Thu. Dec 8th, 2022

The protest camp where homeless activists fight luxury skyscrapers

ByDebra J. Aguilar

Nov 8, 2022

CHICAGO—Isabelle Wright, a resident of the protest camp RiseUpTown, put a chair up for me at the edge of a circuskey. This is ten hours on a friday in September, and people are chatting while their grilling. Every now and then a car stops and leaves water crates, Covid tests or food on a folding table at the front of the camp — donations above 25 members of this homeless community.

Many have camped together on this expanse of grass next to the roaring DuSable Lake Shore Drive long before they started organizingcollectively. When the adjaHundred Weiss Memorial Hospital parking lot was to become luxury apartments, the camp transformed into RiseUpTown. The homeless residents partin connection with the local housing justice Northside Action for Juice groupstick (NA4J), the Union of the homeless (CUH) and othersers to protest against the role of luxury accommodation on the move and roaming.

In August 21a dozen people-housed and unhoused — moved in the hospital parking lot block the construction site. In a 11-daily occupancy, above 50 daily supporters passed. Anyone could sit on the clothes-mending workshops, listen live music, or discover the soundtory of Puerto Ricans in Uptown.

The broad coalition, whichincludes a disability rights activist Accès Habitation group, neighborhood associations, Asian-Americancans Advancing Justice Chicago and the union of health workers SEIU HCII, share the concern that expensive apartments will be drive up rents and exacerbate housing insecurity.

They also fear that the essential community hospitaltal will turn off. Based in Dallas mega-owner Lincoln Property The company purchased the land from Former owner of Weiss, for-profit hedge fund Pipeline Health, in 2021for $12 million. We have seen this model play before when hospitals start selling off their assets,” says Adam Gottlieb, an organizer with CUH and one of the occupied car parksers. It is often a sign that they are going close at the end…because it is not profitable. »

With the loss of Weiss, Uptown would also lose a national recknown gender confirmation program. The coalition wants city ​​officials to remove Lincoln Property permit and expansion hospitable and affordable services lodging.

Chicago demands everything new apartbuildings over ten units to reserve at least ten% of them to “affordable” prices $900 to $1,100 one month (with some caveats) – or pay a instead of” fees to the City of Affordable Housingwide. Reserved Lincoln Property only 8 of 314 units (approx. 2.5%) and paid the local women’s association Sarah’s Circle$3.1 million instead of 24 After. One bedroom apartments to the new building will start at one steep $1,700 a month.

Uptown has seen significant gentrification in recent decades, with an increase in rents (from $1,460 for an average of two-bedroom in 2015 more than $2,200 atday), a whiter population and the disappearance of the single room occupation buildings that providehousing of last resort for the poor, sayable-bodied and homeless people.

Residents protestedside of Lincoln property buildings throughout the city, held public forums and collected near 1,000 signatures, according to Marc Kaplan, from NA4J. Throughout parking occupancy, NA4J members brought food, water and tents.

They are our neighbours,” Kasays the plan. I lived in the Upurban area from the beginning 70s. Some of the current homeless people there that I have known since they were young, literally children who lived with their families in the buildings here. The the city has more than enough resources [to house] all unhoused people who want to be housed.

Wright, whose faded pinkthe lights are brought back in a ponytail, tells me she lived in RiseUpTown for almost two weeks, but has trouble finding accommodation since 2014. Each city has that,” she said. They try to brush their homeless under the rug.

Wright is not impressed with the solution proposed by Uptown Alderman James Cappleman, which supports the development of luxuryment: one week hotel vouchers or placement in shelters to those moved. Wright and others she knows she was sexually assaulteded in women’s shelters.

Gottlieb, meanwhile, notes that the shelter placementby the Ministry of Familyily and support services are in Pilsen — 9 miles away.

Parking lot occupancy finished august 31 after the police residents forcibly evicted, but RiseUpTown still requires revocation of the building permit and conversations with officials about permanent, safe and affordableadequate housing as a right for all.

Community camps homeless peopleness have become really importantso many sites of organized resistance against gentrification because there is a kind of solidarity that happens when we organize around the most vulnerable people in our community,” says Gottlieb. Finally, fighting for housing become a human right, we are fight for everyone.

Camp Maroon in Philadelphia, one more homeless protest camp that 100 people, wrung middle finger concessions of the city of 2020, including50 houses and a pilot “little houses” program (although implementation has been delayed).

The decisions of this camp are made by people here”, Wright said. There is no hierarchy.… We everyone is just trying to help each other.

Update: After this story was reported, a fire broke out and damaged or destroyed most of the residents’ belongings. Fortunately, nobody was hurt. The camp is now located at the end of the street and remains RiseUptown.