"We need more than bare minimums": An open letter regarding 3215 W Lawrence
We are contacting you in regards to the proposed development for 3215 W. Lawrence Ave. Like many 33rd Ward residents, 33rd Ward Working Families is concerned about the rapid loss of affordable housing across the city and in our own neighborhoods. We appreciate your efforts to ensure that 15% of the building's units are designated as affordable; however, we believe this is insufficient to offset the inflationary pressure that the remaining 23 high-end units and trendy businesses will have on surrounding rents. The development will increase the share of higher-priced units in our ward- despite the fact that these are new units- allowing landlords to command higher rents and encouraging further high-end development. This is especially troubling considering the roughly thousand families and long-term working-class residents who have been displaced because of rent burden and profit-motivated eviction in the past two years alone.
At the community meeting held to discuss this development, many community members expressed a desire for a stronger commitment to affordability. You promised to go back to the developer, Spiro Arsenis, and ask him to ensure that more of the affordable units are 2-bedroom (family-friendly) units, and to even see if he could add some 3-bedroom units. We appreciate this commitment as a starting point, but ask for the following additional commitments to ensure the project encourages true affordability and transparency:
- That the rents for the affordable units are set to be less than the maximum specified by the Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO). The ARO requires that rents are affordable to households earning 60% of the area median income (AMI), which would apply to a family of 4 making $47,400 a year and is therefore still out of reach for many of Albany Park's residents.
- That you keep the community well-informed of the results of your negotiations with Arsenis. If he is unwilling to make the above commitments to affordability, we ask that you hold another community meeting to ensure that neighbors have the opportunity to reassess the plans. We feel that the community deserves a second opportunity to voice their concerns about this development if Arsenis refuses to make the building more affordable - one meeting is not enough.
Combating the loss of affordable housing and increased displacement in Albany Park will require a firm commitment to housing as a human right rather than a commodity, and will require drastic solutions, not bare minimums.
We hope that you will join the community in demanding that Arsenis and other developers make
true commitments to affordable housing by respecting the above requests. We ask that you inform the community about the results of your discussions with Arsenis by February 16th.
33rd Ward Working Families