So in recent news John Arena the Alderman of he 45th Ward is supporting yet another suspect initiative in the 45th Ward in which a 7 story apartment rental property would be populated wth 80% Section 8 or other subsidized housing. Residents are concerned about lowering of property values but Arena points out that would not be the case but has no basis for how that could be. He also goes on to say that with 50% of the structures population would be Veterans but no where in the proposal is that guaranteed as pointed out by Richard Gengler, a nearby resident and Veteran himself. A large outcry form the community was expressed recently at a public meeting at the Branch Community church which was filled to capacity with protestors all the while the outside was packed with more protestors. As Bob Bank of the Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association succinctly pointed out that this is a 1950’s approach to affordable “housing” and no one does that anymore.
Why is Arena supporting it? I’ll get to a theory on that later.
Given that I am that “Concerned” Citizen I can imagine how a building filled with 80% subsidized housing will be unlikely to be able to occupy the remaining 20% with people willing to pay full fare for an apartment so will likely fill that remainder with special deals not covered under any sort of subsidization but in the end they won’t be able to survive leaving them empty waiting for a sucker.
Of course there can be many other things that go wrong here many of which I can envision such as increased gang or criminal activity that just happens by virtue of the residents of this building. I am not saying that all of the people that require subsidized housing are bad people but with that sort of concentration in one place a certain percentage can fly under the radar and cause undue problems.
In my opinion, the whole thing is fraught with peril and just another way Arena hopes will either help to fill his coffers with political donations from the developers and contractors that service this endeavor and possibly could blow up in the communities face if approved. Not the mention the expanded voter base that would likely vote for him in the next election. The other theory I have heard is that he is planning on running for Mayor and that could conceivably be a perceived feather in his cap for bringing an undue amount of affordable housing in to this Ward. I shutter at the thought but anything is possible. If it weren’t for the SEIU Arena would not be in office at all and if that becomes the case they will follow him to either the next Aldermanic election or Mayoral election. Is that a politician in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?
I guess the only saving grace in this would be that it would be right across the street from the 16th District Police Station. Well maybe not for the police or the residents in the area.
What are your thoughts?