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Public Action for Affordable Housing

St. Luke’s has received the following letter from Pastor Drew Rindfleisch of San Lucas United Church of Christ (UCC), inviting us to take part in an upcoming action highlighting the corrosive impact of accelerating gentrification on our community.

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Dear Siblings, Sisters, and Brothers in the struggle,

Together with Somos(We Are) Logan Square, Centro Autonomo, Grassroots Illinois Action, the Gay Liberation Network and other affordable housing activists, San Lucas will be cosponsoring a breakfast and action for affordable housing on the Northwest side. Join us on Saturday May 21 from 9am to noon beginning with breakfast at San Lucas in preparation for a mass march against gentrification in favor of affordable housing for families to remain in their communities. Our organizations are demanding that all new developments maintain at least 30% of their rental units as affordable housing based on 30% of average median income. We demand that Alderman Moreno further regulate luxury developers profiting from Chicago Housing Authority’s voucher programs which currently have insufficient accountability measures. These changes can greatly increase affordable housing, reduce homelessness in the city and prevent ongoing displacement of families from their communities.

This is where you come in; we need YOU to stand with us on Saturday, May 21st!

Why do you need me? Despite overwhelming community opposition to luxury developments at Lathrop Homes, the Milwaukee Twin Towers near the California Blue Line and increased public pressure for actual affordable housing in the First Ward and Chicago, Joe Moreno has consistently ignored the community’s demands. San Lucas UCC recently joined the efforts of SOMOS to make housing genuinely affordable and accessible in our community. We at San Lucas do not believe God sanctions gentrification because we walk with congregation members and neighbors experiencing displacement and its devastation on our families.

Since 1976, San Lucas has ministered in the Humboldt Park neighborhood. Over the last two decades, our Food Justice Ministries have connected us with our sisters and brothers experiencing homelessness and food insecurity. Yet, these challenges are fueled by the policies of gentrification that displace families. Year after year, corporate developers callously raise rents by $15-300 per month on the most vulnerable people among us buying historic properties and constructing luxury homes for the privileged few.

All of God’s children deserve a safe and warm home. As a follower of the resurrected Jesus, I believe gentrification is not inevitable, nor is it benefiting our people and our neighborhood. To quote the womanist collective organizing with our neighbors: “Gentrification is 21 st century colonialism!” It is unjust and immoral.

So how did we get here? How did gentrification get this far in Humboldt Park? Simple: by the subversion of democracy and ignoring the will of our working families. Since his time in office, Alderman Moreno has received donations from numerous corporate developers and now seeks to push through rezoning to allow for hundreds of units of luxury developments across Logan Square, Humboldt Park and along Milwaukee Ave. Our brother Joe Moreno is even falsely championing some of these developments as affordable housing, when a studio costs $1500 a month; 2 bedrooms for $2500, and 3 bedrooms listed at $4000. Some, but not all of the developments include 510% ‘affordable’ housing based on 60% of Chicago’s average median income, which is still over $750 per bedroom and completely unaffordable to many working families. The huge number of highrent
units being built will push existing landlords to further increase rents and kick more families out of their homes.

These mass evictions not only displaces families, but contributes to increasing neighborhood violence as youth are forced to cross certain “gang boundaries.” The the lives of our youth are sacrificed for the God of Greed, also known in the Bible as “Mammon.” In Matthew 6:2325, Jesus says, “If your vision is poor, your whole body will be full of gloom. If then the light within you is depressed, how great is that despair! No one can serve two masters: Either a person will hate the one and love the other, or they will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Mammon. Therefore I tell you, do not worry anxiously about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” Humboldt Park and other neighborhoods cry out, “Are not our communities, our families, and our children’s future more valuable than luxury living and corporate
development!?”

We know our neighborhoods are valuable, not because of their prospects for profit, but because of the determination of historic residents, the resourcefulness of our families and the vibrancy of our cultures. Therefore, we believe the wellbeing of our youth and families should not be disrupted or disturbed because of the unquenchable greed to make a profit on luxury housing. Our neighborhoods are not for sale, and we choose community over luxury!

No nos moveran! We shall not be moved! If your organization would like to participate in this event, please contact me by email or phone in order to attend the action coordinating meeting on Monday, May 16th at Centro Autonomo, 3460 W Lawrence.

For all others, turn out for this event on May 21st and bring your friends and neighbors!
Find our event page on Facebook for updates!

Peace,

Pastor Drew Rindfleisch

San Lucas United Church of Christ
2914 W North Ave
Chicago, IL. 60647
773 230 0719
Drew.rindfleisch@gmail.com

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