City Council approves senior housing ordinance

SHARE City Council approves senior housing ordinance
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Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) celebrates the passing of the Chicago Senior Relocation Plan Ordinance on Wednesday with members of the Jane Addams Senior Caucus. | Carlos Ballesteros, Sun-Times

To raucous cheers and applause, the City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a housing ordinance tailored to protect seniors living in buildings undergoing major repair work.

The Chicago Relocation Plan Ordinance requires developers to go through a laundry list of checkpoints as they plan to renovate and rehabilitate senior buildings. Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) introduced the ordinance in November.

The ordinance is intended to provide seniors with enough notice about repairs being done in their buildings and to help them transition into new living quarters during renovations.

“This ordinance is about treating seniors with respect,” Osterman said on the council floor.

The ordinance applies to only developments that receive funding from the city of Chicago and have at least 24 units.

Dozens of seniors with the Jane Addams Senior Caucus, an activist group that’s pushed for the ordinance since 2016 with support from the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, packed the City Council Chambers early Wednesday in anticipation of the vote.

Carmen Betances, a caucus member and resident of the Elizabeth Wood Senior Apartments in Lincoln Park, said the ordinance would provide safeguards for seniors living in dilapidated buildings.

“Passing the Chicago Relocation Plan Ordinance is the first step in demonstrating to seniors across the city that their lives matter and their representatives are putting their constituents health and safety before developer dollars,” she said.

Carlos Ballesteros is a corps member in Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster Sun-Times coverage of issues affecting Chicago’s South and West sides.

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