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Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Avondale

NW Side Is Getting A Community-Funded Mental Health Clinic Thanks To Overwhelming Support Of Voters

About 86 percent of voters in the three neighborhoods voted in favor of opening the clinic — and nearly 80 percent voted to raise property taxes to fund it.

Logan Square Ecumenical Alliance, one of the groups that fought to open the clinic, at an event.
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LOGAN SQUARE — Logan Square, Hermosa and Avondale voted overwhelmingly to fund a mental health clinic in the area, according to Tuesday night’s election results.

About 86 percent of voters in the three neighborhoods — a total of 105 precincts — voted in favor of opening the clinic — and nearly 80 percent voted in favor of raising their property taxes to fund it, according to Chicago Board of Election results.

The questions came in the form of a two-part binding referendum, which, unlike non-binding referendums, require action. Now that the overwhelmingly positive results are in, the clinic will be built and the funding structure will be implemented.

Organizers and local politicians, including Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago), cheered the results on social media.

The clinic will be funded through a property tax increase amounting to about $16-24 per year for most households. The proposed 0.025% increase amounts to about $4 for every $1,000 homeowners pay in property taxes, according to the the Chicago Coalition to Save Our Mental Health Services, the organization overseeing the effort.

In the coming months, a nine-member commission of local residents will be nominated and appointed — five by the governor, 4 by the mayor — to oversee the creation of the new clinic. 

On Wednesday, a coalition spokesperson said the mental health win was made possible by voters, community advocates and elected officials who believe in improving vital access to health care.

“Expanding mental health services for the residents of Logan Square, Hermosa and Avondale is a unique and exciting opportunity,” the spokesperson said in a statement. 

When the Northwest Side clinic opens, it will be the third community-funded clinic in the city.

The first such project, The Kedzie Center, opened in 2014 after 10 years of advocacy from volunteers and the coalition.

Founded in 1991, the coalition fought for the passage of a state law called the Expanded Mental Health Services Act. The 2011 law allows communities to open a mental health clinic so long as they initiate, fund and approve the project, according to the Chicago Community Trust.

The coalition is currently working with West Side residents on a plan to open a community-funded mental health clinic there, which is in the assessment stage. It is expected to open in 2019.

The Northwest Side plan has been in the works since May. Dozens of volunteers spent months collecting signatures in order to get the binding referendum on the ballot.

RELATED: 6 Years After City Shuts Down Logan Square’s Mental Health Clinic, Neighbors Unite To Fund A New One

Several Logan Square organizations, including Logan Square Neighborhood Association and Logan Square Ecumenical Alliance, were involved in the effort.

Now that the communities have voted “yes,” the next steps are to form a governing body and choose an operator.

Asked why the Logan Square area was chosen for the third campaign, organizers said residents there have shown strong support for the project.

Six years ago, Logan Square’s city-run mental health clinic at 2354 N. Milwaukee Ave. was shut down, which prompted citywide protests and a City Hall hearing. The shut down became a symbol of gentrification after the clinic was replaced with trendy establishments, first by a gourmet mac and cheese restaurant and then a 4 a.m. bar.

Credit: Chicago Board of Elections
Tuesday night’s election results.

RELATED: Thanks To Young Voters, Chicago Has Highest Midterm Turnout In 32 Years

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