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Uptown, Edgewater, Rogers Park

Should State Rent Control Ban Be Lifted? North Side Voters Get A Chance To Weigh In

If Illinois overturns its rent control law, one alderman vowed to “introduce an ordinance to stabilize rents for working people.”

Logan Square residents calling for more affordable housing in the gentrifying neighborhood at a rally in 2017.
Mina Bloom
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LOGAN SQUARE – Voters in three North and Northwest Side wards will get a chance to weigh in on whether lawmakers should lift the statewide ban on rent control.

The Lift the Ban – on Rent Control Coalition submitted 5,000 signatures to the Cook County Clerk’s Office Monday to get the non-binding question on the ballot in all precincts in Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa’s 35th Ward, Ald. James Cappleman’s 46th Ward and Ald. Joe Moore’s 49th Ward.

Rosa, his ward organization United Neighbors of the 35th Ward, and the Chicago chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America have been canvassing for the referendum question. Rosa pledged if Illinois overturns its rent control law, he would “introduce an ordinance to stabilize rents for working people.”

At a press conference Monday, Juan DeRosa of One Northside said his Rogers Park home was getting more and more unaffordable.

“This is sorely needed on the North Side,” he said.

Tommie Lewis, who has lived in Uptown since 2015, said she struggled with homelessness while fighting cancer. “No one should feel like housing is a privilege, it is a right,” Lewis said.

SB 3512, pending in the General Assembly, would repeal the Rent Control Preemption Act, and would allow county rent control boards to set regulations based on specified income levels, as well as “restrictions on increasing rent-controlled amounts; notice to tenants before increasing rent; [and] creation of a reserve account by property owners for repairs and capital improvements,” according to the bill summary.

Concerns that rising home and rental prices in neighborhoods like Bronzeville, Pilsen, Logan Square and Uptown are driving out working-class families have taken center stage at City Hall.

While Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proposed a half-dozen initiatives designed to preserve existing affordable apartments and homes, several aldermen have introduced measures to limit aldermen’s ability to block projects that have apartments set aside for low- and moderate-income Chicagoans.

In parts of nine wards, activists pushing to repeal the statewide ban on rent control won at least 70 percent of the vote during the March primary election.

Vote totals:

  • 3rd Ward [10 precincts] — 72 percent
  • 4th Ward [5 precincts] — 73 percent
  • 5th Ward [2 precincts] — 80 percent
  • 7th Ward [1 precinct] — 76 percent
  • 12th Ward [7 precincts] — 80.5 percent
  • 22nd Ward [13 precincts] — 81 percent
  • 25th Ward [all precincts] — 71 percent
  • 33rd Ward, precincts [6 precincts] —  71 percent

Past Daily Line coverage on rent control:
As mayor focuses on affordable housing, aldermen, housing advocates propose limiting aldermanic prerogative

‘Bold action’ needed to combat growing inequality and instability in Chicago, aldermen told

With affordable housing in spotlight, city says it has spent $27 million on 3,556 units in 2018

Get more in-depth, daily coverage of Chicago politics at The Daily Line.