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On September 25, 2017, the Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emmanuel and the Chicago City Council, passed a pilot program within the Mayor's newly formed Affordable Housing Ordinance (ARO) for the 27th Ward that encompass East Garfield Park, West Humboldt, West Town, Near West Side, Near North and parts of the West Loop.  "This ordinance calls for rents to be raised and allocated as 'affordable' from $799 to $1,352 for a studio apartment to $1,998 for a 3 bedroom, with a 100% AMI, which means an individual must be making $55,300 annually to afford the new 'affordable' rents approved in the ordinance.  Currently, the median income for an African American family of four (4) in Chicago is $30,000 according to the census," said Leah Levinger, Executive Director of the Chicago Housing Initiative.  "Thus, contrary to what the Mayor has stated as his reasoning behind raising the rents 'to assure the non-displacement of people of color,' is in fact, doing the opposite, displacing people of color," said Leah.

"The fight for equality for people of color is not over, the majority is still underpaid, disenfranchised and excluded from the so called American Dream.  A strategic plan to displace the homeless and people of color out of Chicago and other U.S. cities is a real and painful truth," said Siri Hibbler, President of the Garfield Park Chamber of Commerce and several businesses in the area

"I was told by a political figure that 'I can't be political and community also.'  I firmly disagree.  And, I now truly understand, how Martin Luther King, who stated 'we must negotiate, mobilize and resist,' and so many others may have felt and endured when they decided to stand up, speak out and fight for people of color and the injustices against us.  Although some may not approve, we are thankful for the various elected officials and incumbents, including Chris Kennedy (incumbent, Illinois Governor) for supporting our efforts to keep people of color, small businesses and low-income families in our communities," said Siri.

"The black communities are not broke. TIFF funding of $8+ Million with acres of land for $1 and schools, in Garfield Park alone, have been given out by the Mayor from the Garfield Park TIFFS, to several non-black-owned businesses, who have never contributed to the community.  Yet, there are many black-owned businesses who have been in the community for years, who can-not get 1 dime of these TIFF funds to grow their business and job training programs.  With $8 million, we can revitalize schools, invest in many small businesses and real affordable housing, if the Mayor truly cared about keeping people of color in the communities," said Siri.

"As the late John F. Kennedy stated, 'ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.' And, we believe that we have answered the question, therefore, we gladly announce the launch of the #Pushback Chicago Initiative program, that will help people of color be inclusive and not displaced from their communities, becoming key stake holders, investors and home owners," said Siri.  

The #Pushback Chicago Initiative® is a crowd-funding online program launching in April 2018, where residents can invest a small amount of funds, minimum $500, into the #Pushback Fund®, that will go towards the purchase of the properties that they choose for their portfolio within their own communities.  This program is designed to take low-income individuals from renters to home ownership and investors, thus, allowing them to create generational wealth for their families, and remain in their respective communities.   "Our lawyers are working on helping us offer this opportunity in other cities experiencing gentrification throughout the United States as well," said Siri.

"Diversity is what makes America the greatest country in the world, it is what makes Chicago one of the greatest cities in America, it's time for the people to speak and Push-Back in Chicago," said Siri.

Siri and her team will be hosting a Kick-off event and press conference for the #pushback Chicago initiative and the online crowd-funding investment site, Friday, February 9th at 2954 W. Lake Street, at 6:00 pm. To RSVP contact Brian or Siri at 708.629.9417 or 872.444.5899


SOURCE Field of Dreams Visionary Center

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