The Chicago For All Coalition was convened by ONE Northside, and includes LCBH and many other tenant advocate and social service organizations. The purpose of the coalition is to address the rapid depletion of Single Room Occupancy (SROs) hotels in Chicago. SROs provide short and long-term affordable housing options for some of the city’s most vulnerable, very low-income residents, like the recently homeless, veterans, and persons with disabilities. SROs are often located in desirable areas of the city—walkable neighborhoods, close to public transportation and with abundant social service agencies. In the past several years, many SROs have been sold to investors who rehab the buildings and raise rents far beyond what former residents could afford. Chicago stands to lose this crucial affordable housing resource.
As LCBH notes in its 2013 Foreclosure Report, “One scenario that has played out frequently over the past few years is the purchase of low-income buildings and single room occupancy buildings or hotels (SROs) by investors hoping to cash in on the growth in the rental market. Investors buy buildings, rehab units, and increase rent, virtually ensuring that former residents cannot return. Recent examples of this phenomenon include the purchase of the Lawrence House, Astor House, Abbott Hotel, and Chateau Hotel, all high-rise buildings in Rogers Park, Lakeview, and Uptown.”
On July 30, 2014, City Council passed a short-term six month moratorium on all SRO development until the more permanent ordinance can be effectuated.
On September 10, 2014, the Single-Room Occupancy and Residential Hotel Preservation Ordinance was introduced into the City Council.
On November 10, 2014, a substitute ordinance was approved by the Committee on Housing and Real Estate.
On November 12, 2014, by a vote of 47-2, aldermen approved the Single-Room Occupancy Preservation Ordinance.
Mary Tarullo of ONE Northside on the passage of the ordinance, "We got the city to pass a law that regulates the sale of SROs, dedicates new money toward the preservation of SROs as affordable housing, and provides important new protections for some of the most vulnerable renters in our city. Of course our work isn't over. We'll have to be diligent about making sure the ordinance is implemented well and that it works in the real world. But for this very moment, let's celebrate all the hard work, deliberate decisions, and powerful actions that got us to this point. Congratulations to everyone who played a part in this campaign!"