Mayor’s home-buying assistance program doesn’t deserve tax dollars

SHARE Mayor’s home-buying assistance program doesn’t deserve tax dollars

602 W. Arlington Pl., a basement condo owned by a businessman who got a $16,490 grant to buy it. | Tyler LaRiviere /Sun-Times

I was disappointed to read about inappropriate uses of taxpayer dollars allocated to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s home-buyer assistance program in an article written by Tim Novak on May 18.

According to the article, “A Chicago cop got $21,137 toward the cost of a new, $445,000 home on the Northwest Side. And another police officer got $13,353 toward a $340,000 home on the Northwest Side. He got the grant one day after he sold a nearby home for $277,000.”

Just a few months ago, the mayor gave remarks criticizing efforts to create the first affordable housing for veterans and people with disabilities in Chicago’s 129-year-old Northwest Side neighborhood of Jefferson Park. The mayor to date, has refused to support the 5150 N. Northwest Highway project. The 5150 development represents the first Chicago Housing Authority supported housing on the far Northwest Side, ever, within a community that has historically fought bitterly against the integration of CHA housing since the 1960s, when Dr. King marched in Chicago’s Gage Park and Fred Hampton was spit on in Jefferson Park for marching for open housing. Residential segregation of the far Northwest Side of Chicago has always been purposeful.

The mayor supports giving taxpayer dollars to persons of means who want to live in safe communities, with good schools and access to one of the best transit hubs in the city, but refuses to support affordable, accessible and integrated housing for lower-wage individuals and families to live in the same communities. We need a mayor willing to construct inclusive housing programs and practices for all of Chicago’s neighborhoods, to end residential segregation once and for all.

Monica Dillon, Norwood Park

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Limit Starbucks policy

Starbucks’ new policy to allow people to hang out in their stores without buying anything needs some limits. I go to my local Bux every morning, buy a grande and the Sun-Times, and sit for about an hour and enjoy both. I’ve seen other people there who plant themselves — usually in the only two comfy chairs — buy nothing, and hang out even longer.

I wouldn’t put it on the staff to police these non-customers, but, as McDonald’s does, a sign could be posted stating a time limit. It just makes no sense to treat the serious idlers the same as paying customers — the people who pay the salaries of all the hard-working baristas.

Carol LaChapelle, West Rogers Park

Heartwarming columns

Please give a huge shout out to Sun-Times columnist John Fountain. His articles are always heartwarming and straight from the heart. I enjoy reading every one of them and have saved many of them just to reread at another time. Thank you, Mr. John Fountain.

Sandra Paszczyk, Tinley Park

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