A plot of land owned by the housing authority on the Near West Side, where officials once pledged to replace a demolished public apartment complex, will instead become a training facility for a professional football team, prompting the wrath of housing advocates.
The City Housing Authority is set to lease 26 acres of vacant land on the former site of the ABLA Homes public housing development to the Chicago Fire Football Club, a Major League Soccer franchise owned by Morningstar founding billionaire Joe Mansueto. one of the most influential in the city. business leaders, according to a report by ProPublica and WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight.”
The decision comes as more than 30,000 people are on CHA’s waiting lists for vouchers or placement in affordable housing.
Thousands of families were forced out of the ABLA Homes public housing complex in 2002 as part of what city officials called a longer-term plan to revitalize and redevelop public housing throughout the city. City and federal leaders said at the time that thousands of mixed-income housing units would be built to replace the deteriorating complex.
But with that promise largely unfulfilled, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Housing Authority are now considering leasing most of the land, located at Roosevelt Road and Ashland Avenue, from the fire.
“We have an agency … that is supposed to provide housing for the most vulnerable, and instead of building housing, they want to give this land to a football team,” said Rod Wilson, director of the nonprofit Eugenia Burns Hope Center. lucrative, affordable housing. defense group. “It looks like CHA wants to get out of the business of providing quality housing for families.
CHA told ProPublica that the lease with the team would fund repairs to ABLA’s aging properties and create jobs.
“This property has been vacant for 20 years and it’s time for us to make something productive out of it,” said CHA CEO Tracey Scott, adding that the proposed practice facility is “consistent with our philosophy of mixed use and mixed income”. communautary development.”
This is not the first time the CHA has allowed its land to be developed for non-residential purposes. He sold or leased property for a nonprofit tennis academy, police station and film production space, among other things, according to ProPublica.
Marisa Novara, the Lightfoot-appointed commissioner of the city’s housing department, felt in April that Chicago lacked approximately 120,000 units affordable housing.
[ProPublica] –Rachel Herzog