This March, our rent control referendum will be on the ballot in six precincts in the 33rd ward and more than 100 across the city.
Now we need to make sure that we win the thing! Come help us kick off our get out the vote efforts. We'll do a quick canvassing training, then head out in pairs to talk to residents.
Our goal is to show state legislators that Chicago voters want Illinois' ban on rent control lifted, and to talk to neighbors facing displacement about how we can fight back.
This is a great opportunity to help win something tangible, build long-term power in the ward and gripe about your landlord, all at once!
Between now and March 20, we'll be doing several Saturday community canvasses, as well as shorter canvassing shifts throughout the week. If you can't make it to this one, message us to get involved!
Answers to some FAQ:
*What is rent control?*
Rent control helps prevent large-scale displacement by setting reasonable limits on how much rent can be increased over time. Cities in New York, California, New Jersey, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. all have some form of rent control.
*Why do we need it?*
Rents are rising rapidly across Chicago, forcing working-class people out of their communities. In the 33rd ward, half of residents spend at least 50% of their income on rent. Rent control is one way to loosen the market's vice grip on a basic human need.
*Why doesn't Chicago have rent control?*
One reason is that in 1997, realtors pushed successfully for passage of an Illinois state law banning cities from regulating rents. Earlier this year, State Rep. Will Guzzardi introduced a state bill that would "lift the ban" on rent control, allowing Chicago to decide for itself whether this measure is right for our city. See this Chicago Reader article for more info: https://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/illinois-rent-control-prohibition-history/Content?oid=26517042
*Would the ballot initiative establish rent control?*
No. But we can use it to show state legislators that we want them to vote for state legislation to "lift the ban," and City Council that it's time to start talking about rent control and real affordable housing.
*Can rent control stop gentrification and displacement?*
Not by itself, but it's one important tool. 33rd Ward Working families is also fighting to expand affordable (preferably, public!) housing in the ward, pushing back on developers' plans to gentrify our community, and standing alongside groups like the Autonomous Tenants' Union to support tenant organizing and ensure that everyone has safe and dignified housing.